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Credits

D&D Encounters

This book was a collaboration between Wizards of the Coast


and Green Ronin Publishing. Members of the Green Ronin
creative team are marked with an asterisk.

Welcome to a special introductory edition of the Out of


the Abyss adventure, designed specifically for D&D
Encounters (an official in-store play program) and the
D&D Adventurers League (the official D&D organized
play system).
This edition of the adventure is designed for 1stthrough 4th-level characters, and is divided up into
three chapters, each of which contains a number of
potential adventure scenarios. Characters who finish
all three parts of the adventure should reach 5th level
at the end. Characters of 5th level and above cannot
play in this D&D Encounters edition of the adventure,
though they can play the full adventure of Out of the
Abyss. Each part of the adventure should be played
over multiple sessions of play. For D&D Encounters,
the recommended session length is two hours. The full
adventure contains additional play beyond this edition.
Playing this adventure in store as a part of D&D
Encounters is fun and offers additional benefits to
enhance the experience. Folios connecting characters to
different factions in the world of the Forgotten Realms
are provided for players, containing information and
accessories, along with exclusive rewards. Dungeon
Masters (DMs) receive a folio as well, themed to the
storyline season (for this season, Rage of Demons).
Check with your store for more details. If you received
this adventure and arent currently associated with a
store, you can find a nearby store by heading to our
Store and Event Locator.

Story Creators: Christopher Perkins, Adam Lee, Richard


Whitters
Story Consultants: R.A. Salvatore, Troy Denning
Lead Adventure Designer: Steve Kenson*
Designers: Cam Banks,* Walter Ciechanowski,* Alex Melchor,*
Christopher Perkins, Chris Pramas,* Robert J. Schwalb,*
Matt Sernett, Rodney Thompson, Ray Winninger*
Managing Editor: Jeremy Crawford
Editors: Scott Fitzgerald Gray, Christopher Perkins, Tom
Cadorette*
Additional Proofreading: Peter Lee, Sean K Reynolds
Producer: Greg Bilsland
D&D Lead Designers: Mike Mearls, Jeremy Crawford
D&D Encounters Edition: Scott Fitzgerald Gray, Chris Tulach
Art Directors: Hal Mangold,* Kate Irwin, Shauna Narciso
Cover Illustrator: Tyler Jacobson
Interior Illustrators: Empty Room Studios, Sam Burley, Olga
Drebas, Wayne England, Ilich Henriquez, David Hueso,
William OConnor, Claudio Pozas, Jasper Sandner, Craig
Spearing, Bryan Syme, Carlos Nuez de Castro Torres,
Francis Tsai, Anthony Waters, Richard Whitters, Ben
Wootten, Kieran Yanner
Cartographers: Jared Blando, Mike Schley
Graphic Designer: Emi Tanji
Project Management: Neil Shinkle, John Hay
Production Services: Cynda Callaway, Jefferson Dunlap,
David Gershman
Brand and Marketing: Nathan Stewart, Liz Schuh,
Chris Lindsay, Shelly Mazzanoble, Hilary Ross, John Feil,
Laura Tommervik, Greg Tito, Kim Lundstrom, Trevor Kidd
Playtesters: Robert Alaniz, Jay Anderson, Bill Benham, Stacy
Bermes, Anthony Caroselli, Krupal Desai, Frank Foulis,
Jason Fuller, Gregory L. Harris, Justin Hicks, Yan Lacharit,
Jonathan Longstaff, Matt Maranda, Shawn Merwin, Lou
Michelli, Mike Mihalas, Karl Resch, Kyle Turner, Arthur
Wright, Keoki Young
Disclaimer: Before you take on demon lords, consult a physician. Do not drink alcohol
while taking on demon lords. Taking alcohol and demon lords may increase your risk
of death. Other side effects of demon lords may include hallucinations, mindless rage,
gluttony, greed, paranoia, self-delusion, bestial urges, nihilism, hedonism, megalomania, a
messiah complex, cannibalism, multiple personalities, and homicidal psychosis.

DUNGEONS & DRAGONS, D&D, Wizards of the Coast, Forgotten Realms, the dragon
ampersand, Out of the Abyss, Players Handbook, Monster Manual, Dungeon Masters
Guide, all other Wizards of the Coast product names, and their respective logos are
trademarks of Wizards of the Coast in the USA and other countries. All characters
and their distinctive likenesses are property of Wizards of the Coast. This material is
protected under the copyright laws of the United States of America. Any reproduction
or unauthorized use of the material or artwork contained herein is prohibited without
the express written permission of Wizards of the Coast.
Green Ronin Publishing and the Green Ronin Publishing logo are trademarks of Green
Ronin Publishing.
2015 Wizards of the Coast LLC, PO Box 707, Renton, WA 98057-0707, USA.

The D&D Adventurers


League

This adventure is official for D&D Adventurers League


play. The D&D Adventurers League is the official
organized play system for Dungeons & Dragons.
Players can create characters and participate in any
adventure allowed as a part of the D&D Adventurers
League. As they adventure, players track their
characters experience, treasure, and other rewards,
and can take those characters through other adventures
that will continue their story.
D&D Adventurers League play is broken up into
storyline seasons. When players create characters, they
attach those characters to a storyline season, which
determines what rules theyre allowed to use to create
and advance their characters. Players can continue
to play their characters after the storyline season has
finished, possibly participating in a second or third

Season Length
The Rage of Demons storyline season for D&D Encounters
runs from July 23, 2015, through March 15, 2016. This D&D
Encounters edition of the adventure contains enough play
for 9 to 13 sessions. If you start the adventure the first week
and play the sessions in the recommended two-hour weekly
increments, you will finish this edition well before the end
of the D&D Encounters season. To fill out the rest of the
season, see Additional Play at the end of this adventure.

D&D Encounters
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storyline with those same characters. A characters level


is the only limitation for adventure play. A player cannot
use a character of a level higher or lower than the level
range of a D&D Adventurers League adventure.
For more information on playing, running games as
a Dungeon Master, and organizing games for the D&D
Adventurers League, please visit the D&D Adventurers
League home.

Preparing the
Adventure

You dont need to prepare this entire adventure for


the first session. Simply get to know the setup of each
chapter prior to playing, paying attention to the openended nature of this adventure and the different ways
you might construct your D&D Encounters sessions.
As you do so, spend some time familiarizing yourself
with the adventures locations, events, and characters
including the drow outpost of Velkynvelve in chapter 1
and the kuo-toa settlement of Sloobludop in chapter 3.
Youll also want to review the relevant statistics for any
monsters or nonplayer characters (NPCs).
Each part of the adventure contains a Designing
D&D Encounters Sessions sidebar that talks about
how to divide that part of the adventure up into twohour sessions for D&D Encounters play. This adventure
features a wide-open play style that means you will most
often be creating sessions based on the characters
goals and the players choices during the game, rather
than forcing the characters to adhere to a fixed roster of
events and locations. Random encounters are also an
integral part of the adventure, especially as developed
during the characters travels in chapter 2.
In order to DM the game as a part of the D&D
Adventurers League, youll need a DCI number. The
DCI number is your official Wizards of the Coast
organized play identifier. If you dont have a number,
you can obtain one at a store event. Check with your
organizer for details.

Before Each Play Session


This adventure is designed for three to seven 1stto 4th-level characters, and is optimized for four
characters. Players that have characters outside that
level range cannot participate in the adventure with
those characters. Players with ineligible characters can
make a new 1st-level character or use a pregenerated
character. Players can play an adventure they previously
played or ran as a DM, but not with the same character
(if applicable).
Ensure that all players have official Adventure Log
sheets for their characters. Each player will fill out
the adventure name, session number, date, and your
name and DCI number. In addition, the player also fills
in his or her characters starting values for XP, gold,
downtime, renown, and number of permanent magic
items. Players will fill in the other values and write
notes at the conclusion of the session. Each player is
responsible for maintaining an accurate logsheet.

Table of Contents
D&D Encounters................................................................... 2
Chapter 1: Prisoners of the Drow......................................... 7
Escape!............................................................................... 7
The Adventure Begins........................................................ 8
Designing D&D Encounters Sessions.............................. 8
In the Slave Pen................................................................. 9
The Drow.......................................................................... 13
Velkynvelve....................................................................... 14
Means of Escape.............................................................. 19
Leaving Velkynvelve......................................................... 20
XP Awards........................................................................ 20
Chapter 2: Into Darkness.................................................... 21
Where to Go?................................................................... 21
Designing D&D Encounters Sessions............................ 22
Underdark Travel.............................................................. 24
Equipment........................................................................ 25
Madness........................................................................... 26
Death................................................................................ 26
Fungi of the Underdark.................................................... 27
Narrating the Journey...................................................... 28
Drow Pursuit.................................................................... 28
Random Encounters........................................................ 30
Summarizing Travel......................................................... 35
Set Encounters................................................................. 35
The Silken Paths............................................................... 35
Hook Horror Hunt........................................................... 37
The Oozing Temple.......................................................... 39
Lost Tomb of Khaem........................................................ 41
Chapter 3: The Darklake...................................................... 44
Traversing the Darklake................................................... 45
Designing D&D Encounters Sessions............................ 45
Random Encounters........................................................ 45
Sloobludop....................................................................... 49
XP Awards........................................................................ 55
Developments.................................................................. 55
Aditional Play....................................................................... 56
Appendix A: Modifying Backgrounds................................. 57
Substitute Features.......................................................... 57
Substitute Bonds............................................................. 57
Appendix B: Magic Items.................................................... 58
Appendix C: Creatures........................................................ 59
Derro................................................................................ 59
Ixitxachitl.......................................................................... 60
Other Creatures............................................................... 61

You can do a quick scan of a players character


sheet to ensure that nothing appears out of order.
If you see magic items of very high rarity or strange
arrays of ability scores, you can ask a player to provide
documentation for the irregularities. If a player cannot,
feel free to restrict item use or ask the player to use a
standard ability score array. Point the player to the D&D
Adventurers League Players Guide as a reference.

Downtime and Lifestyle


At the beginning of each play session, players must
declare whether or not they are spending any days of
downtime. The player records the downtime spent
on the adventure logsheet. The following options are
available to players during downtime (see the D&D
Basic Rules or the D&D Adventurers League Players
Guide for more information):

D&D Encounters
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Crafting (exception: multiple characters cannot commit to crafting a single item)


Practicing a profession
Recuperating
Training
Other downtime options might be available during
adventures or unlocked through play, including factionspecific activities.
In addition, whenever a character spends downtime
days, that character also spends the requisite expense
for his or her lifestyle. Costs are per day, so that a
character who spends ten days of downtime also spends
ten days of expenses maintaining his or her lifestyle.
Some downtime activities help with lifestyle expenses
or add lifestyle expenses.

Player and DM Folios


At your first session, check with your store organizer to
see if faction-specific player and story-specific DM folios
are available. These are complimentary, and contain
great game accessories and rewards for DMs and
players. Whenever a new player shows up, check with
the organizer to see if any more folios are available.

After Each Play Session

As the characters progress through the adventure,


they can earn treasure in the form of valuables such as
gold, jewelry, and art objects, as well as magic items.
In addition, there might be special rewards that are
story focused or intangible. Since a groups composition
might change from one play session to the next, youll
want to have players update their logsheets before
leaving the table.
Players are responsible for maintaining their own
adventure logsheets. At the end of each session, you
should give out rewards earned and each player should
record that information on his or her logsheet.
Experience points (XP) are given out to each
player. Divide XP by the number of characters, unless
otherwise specified in the adventure.
Coin, nonmagical treasure, and other wealth
rewards are totaled up in value. That total is then
divided by the number of characters, unless otherwise
specified in the adventure.
Consumable magic items are awarded at the end of
each session. Potions, scrolls, and other consumable
magic items are divided among the characters. A player
notes the item obtained by recording it on his or her
logsheet. Players should attempt to ensure an equitable
distribution of consumable items.
Permanent magic items are awarded at the end of
each session. Permanent magic items are rare, and do
not appear often. A player notes each item obtained by
recording it on his or her logsheet. See the sidebar for
guidelines on how to distribute permanent magic items.

Experience and Milestones


D&D Adventurers League play does not use the milestone
experience rule. Characters track experience individually and
level up when reaching the appropriate amount of XP.

Other special rewards are awarded when noted in


the adventure, usually at the end of a session.

Awarding Certificates
The D&D Encounters kit contains certificates for all
permanent magic items and any rare or higher rarity
consumable items found in an adventure. Whenever
a character records such a magic item on his or her
logsheet, ask the organizer for a certificate from the
kit to award to that player. Certificates can be awarded
while supplies last.
Certified magic items are a fun reminder of play,
but they also serve an important purpose: most
unlock the ability to trade a magic item to another
D&D Adventurers League character. Magic items
earned without certificates cannot be traded to other
characters.
Other items in the adventure might also be certified,
including special rewards. If a special item or other
reward has a certificate, it is noted in the adventure.

Character Advancement
A character who earns enough XP to advance a level can
do so at the end of a long rest or at the end of a session.
A character who earns enough renown to advance a
rank in his or her faction can do so at the end of either
part of the adventure.

Downtime and Renown

At different points during the adventure, additional


awards might need to be given out.
Downtime days and renown are awarded three times
during this D&D Encounters edition of Out of the Abyss.
At the end of each chapter, each character is awarded
10 downtime days, which can be spent immediately or
saved for later use.

Dungeon Mastering Tips

As the DM running this adventure, you have the most


important role in facilitating the enjoyment of the game
for the players. You help guide the narrative and bring
the words on these pages to life. The outcome of a fun
game session often creates stories that live well beyond
the play at the table. Always follow this golden rule when
you run an adventure for a group:
Make decisions and adjudications that enhance the
fun of the adventure whenever possible.
To reinforce this rule, keep the following points in mind:
You are empowered to make adjustments to the adventure and make decisions about how the characters
interact with the world of the adventure. This is especially important and applicable outside of combat, but
feel free to also use the guidelines in the Adjusting
the Adventure section (below) for groups that are having too easy or too hard of a time in an adventure.
Dont make the adventure too easy or too difficult for
a group. Never being challenged makes for a boring
game, and being overwhelmed makes for a frustrating

D&D Encounters
Not for resale. Permission granted to print and photocopy this document for personal use only.

game. Gauge the experience that the players (not the


characters) have with the game. Try to get a sense of
what each player likes in a game session (or simply
ask the players), and try to give all players the experience theyre after when they play D&D. Give everyone
a chance to shine.
Be mindful of pacing, and keep the game session
moving along appropriately. Watch for stalling, since
play loses momentum when this happens. At the same
time, try to provide the players with a full play experience that doesnt finish too early. D&D Encounters
sessions are about two hours long, so try to be aware
of when you are running long or short. Adjust the
pacing accordingly. Each part of the adventure provides guidelines for breaking the action up into D&D
Encounters sessions.
Give the players appropriate hints so they can make
informed choices about how to proceed. Players
should be given clues when necessary so they can
tackle puzzles, combat, and interactions without
getting frustrated over lack of information. This
helps to encourage immersion in the adventure and
gives players little victories for figuring out good
choices from clues.
In short, being the DM isnt about following the
adventures text word for word. Its about helping
to create a fun, challenging game environment for
the players. The Dungeon Masters Guide has more
information on the art of running a D&D game.

Character Disease, Death, and


Recovery
Bad things sometimes happen even to the heroes, and
characters might be poisoned, diseased, or killed during
an adventure. The following rules can help you manage
such events during a D&D Encounters season.

Disease, Poison, and


Other Debilitating Effects

A character affected by disease, poison, and other


similar effects can recuperate during downtime to help
resolve those effects. (See Downtime Activities in
the D&D Basic Rules). If a character doesnt resolve an
effect between game sessions, that character begins the
next session still affected by the debilitating effect.

Death

A character who dies during the course of an adventure


has a few different options.
Party Magic. If a character in the party has access
to a raise dead spell, a revivify spell, or similar magic,
he or she can choose to raise a dead character. If raise
dead is used, the dead characters soul must be free
and willing to be returned to life. A character subject
to a raise dead spell also takes a penalty to attack rolls,
saving throws, and ability checks that is normally
reduced each time the character takes a long rest. In
addition, each downtime day spent after a character is
subject to raise dead can reduce this penalty by 1, over
and above any other benefit the downtime provides.

Permanent Magic Item Distribution


D&D Adventurers League has a system in place to determine
who is awarded permanent magic items at the end of a
session. Each characters logsheet contains a column to
record permanent magic items for ease of reference.
If all the players at the table agree on one character taking
possession of a permanent magic item, that character
gets the item.
In the event that one or more characters indicate an
interest in possessing a permanent magic item, the
character who possesses the fewest permanent magic
items gets the item. If there is a tie in the total number of
permanent magic items owned by contesting characters,
the items owner is determined randomly by the DM.

Dead Character Pays for Raise Dead. If a dead


characters body is recoverable and his or her soul is
willing to be returned to life, the party can take the body
back to civilization and use the dead characters funds to
pay for a raise dead spell. A raise dead spell cast in this
manner costs the character 1,000 gp.
Characters Party Pays for Raise Dead. As above,
except that some or all of the 1,000 gp cost of the raise
dead spell is paid for by the party at the end of the
session. Other party members are under no obligation to
spend their funds to bring a dead character back to life.
Faction Charity. If the dead character is 1st to 4th
level and a member of a faction, the characters body
can be returned to civilization, where a patron from
the faction ensures that the character receives a raise
dead spell. However, any character invoking this charity
forfeits all XP and rewards from the session in which he
or she died (even those earned prior to dying during that
session), and cannot replay that portion of the adventure
with that character again. Once a character reaches 5th
level, this option is no longer available.
Create a New Character. If a character cannot be
brought back from the dead, a player can create a new
character. The new character does not have any items
or rewards possessed by the dead character. A dead
character keeps all his or her items and rewards, in case
the player decides to raise the character later. Other
characters cannot take a dead characters treasure or
magic items, and can use a dead characters money only
to pay for a raise dead spell for that character.

Adjusting the
Adventure

This adventure has been designed for optimal play


by a party of four characters all starting at 1st level,
and who will advance as high as 5th level by the end
of the adventure. However, the D&D Encounters
format allows for characters of 1st to 4th level, and
groups of from three to seven adventurers. If you
are playing with a larger or smaller group, or with
a group of four characters starting the adventure at
higher than 1st level, you can make adjustments to the
combat encounters to make sure the adventure plays
well for your group. ( You can make the same sorts of
adjustments even for a group of four characters of the

D&D Encounters
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optimal level if those characters are having too hard or


too easy a time in the adventure.)

Rebuilding Encounters
The Dungeon Masters Guide and the D&D Basic
Rules provide guidelines for creating balanced combat
encounters. If you have time before you play, use these
guidelines to calculate the appropriate XP budget for
your party and increase the number of monsters in an
encounter as appropriate.

Monster Manual (all new monsters are presented in


the appendix)
D&D Basic Rules (players rules and Dungeon
Masters rules)
Dungeon Masters Guide (recommended)

Adjusting on the Fly


To make adjustments to encounters while you play, you
can increase the number of monsters. This approach
works best for encounters with four or more monsters
(equal to or greater than the optimal party size of four).
Start by adding one monster to an existing group of
monsters for each additional character in the party.
Be careful if you find yourself doubling the number of
monsters in an encounter. Many creatureseven lowchallenge monstersbecome much more dangerous
in large numbers. In the event that you feel the need
to increase the number of monsters in an encounter
drastically (for example, if you have a large group of
3rd- or 4th-level characters starting the adventure), you
should instead use the Dungeon Masters Guide or the
D&D Basic Rules to calculate XP budgets as you rebuild
the encounters.

Noncombat XP
In addition to XP earned for overcoming monsters in
combat, special noncombat XP awards are noted at
different points in the adventure. You can also give out
such awards as appropriate when the characters engage
in good roleplaying to overcome a challenge, or when
the adventurers undertake a complicated, risky strategy
that allows them to bypass a dangerous encounter
rather than face it.
In general, if the characters are able to bypass
a combat encounter with effective roleplaying and
strategizing, award full XP as if the party had overcome
the encounter, so as to ensure that characters can
advance in the adventure as expected. However, in
the event that a party later has to fight foes that were
initially bypassed, characters gain no additional XP for
the combat encounter.
Noncombat XP awards are given either on a per
character basis or as a lump-sum award to be divided
by the party. Where awards are given to each character,
you can award the same value to any number of
characters in the party. Where an award is given as
a lump-sum value, divide the award by the number of
characters in the party.
The Dungeon Masters Guide has more information
on noncombat challenges and awarding XP.

Resources for Play

To run this adventure, you should have the following


resources available for your use:

D&D Encounters
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Chapter 1: Prisoners of the Drow


Deep beneath the surface of the world lies the
Underdark, a realm of endless labyrinthine tunnels and
caverns where the sun never shines. The Underdark
is filled with races and creatures too numerous to
count or list, and foremost among these are the dark
elvesthe drow. Hated and feared even by their fellow
dwellers in darkness, the drow raid other settlements
in the Underdark as well as the surface world, taking
prisoners back with them. Rendered unconscious
with drow poison, then collared and shackled, these
prisoners are eventually sold as slaves or entertainment
in the dark elves subterranean cities.
The adventurers have all had the misfortune of
falling to such a fate. Captured by the drow, they are
prisoners at one of the dark elves outposts, awaiting
transportation to Menzoberranzan, the City of Spiders.
Whether they came into the Underdark seeking
knowledge or fortune, or were just in the wrong place at
the wrong time, they were ripe prey for a drow raid.
The setup of Out of the Abyss is such that the
characters need have no connections with events in the
Underdark, or with each other, prior to the start of the
adventure. They can meet and get to know each other
as prisoners of the drow. Players who would like their
characters to have a stronger Underdark connection can
choose from the background options in appendix A.

Prisoners of the Drow assumes the characters start


at 1st level, and that they will achieve 2nd level (if not
3rd) by the end of this chapter of the adventure.

Escape!

The characters goal in this chapter of the adventure


is straightforward: escape from the drow outpost of
Velkynvelve, with an eye toward escaping from the
Underdark. However, this goal is complicated by the
adventurers lack of familiarity with their surroundings.
Even if the prisoners can get away from the drow, where
will they go and how will they survive?

Restraints
All the drows prisoners, including the characters,
wear iron slave collars along with manacles connected
to iron belts by a short length of chain. This leaves
the prisoners restrained, but doesnt affect their
movement or speed.
In addition to being manacled, spellcasters dont have
any spell components or focuses, initially limiting their
spellcasting ability. ( Wizard characters dont need their
spellbooks to cast spells, but will be unable to change
their prepared spells without them. As such, give wizard
characters some leeway in determining which spells
they had previously prepared before being captured.)
Moreover, spellcasting isnt possible inside the slave pen
because of its magical wards (see area 11).
Slipping out of manacles requires a successful DC
20 Dexterity check, while breaking them requires
a successful DC 20 Strength check. A character
can unlock the manacles using thieves tools with a
successful DC 15 Dexterity check. The manacles have

15 hit points. The iron collars can be broken with a


successful DC 20 Strength check. The collars have
12 hit points. A character who fails a check to break a
collar, break a set of manacles, or escape from a set of
manacles cant attempt checks of that kind again until
he or she finishes a long rest. A character can still use
the Help action to aid another character, however.

The Adventure Begins

The characters begin the adventure in the slave


pens of Velkynvelve. Stripped of everything but their
underclothing, they are at the mercy of the dark elves
and in the company of other prisoners, many of who
arent what they seem.
Captured by the drow! You wouldnt wish this fate upon
anyone, yet here you arelocked in a dark cave, the
cold, heavy weight of metal tight around your throat and
wrists. You are not alone. Other prisoners are trapped in
here with you, in an underground outpost far from the
light of the sun.
Your captors include a cruel drow priestess who calls
herself Mistress Ilvara of House Mizzrym. Over the
past several days, youve met her several times, robed
in silken garments and flanked by two male drow, one
of whom has a mass of scars along one side of his
face and neck.
Mistress Ilvara likes to impress her will with scourge in
hand and remind you that your life now belongs to her.
Accept your fate, learn to obey, and you may survive.
Her words echo in your memory, even as you plot
your escape.

Assume that each player character has been a prisoner


in Velkynvelve for 1d10 days. (Roll separately for each
character.) The characters spend most of this time
locked in the slave pen, emerging occasionally under
heavy guard to perform menial chores for their captors
amusement (see Hard Labor).
Feel free to play out any interaction between the drow,
the player characters, and the other prisoners. This is
an opportunity to reveal who the characters are and to
flesh out their backgrounds and personalities through
roleplaying, even as you introduce some of their fellow
prisoners. Ilvaras newest consort, Shoor, wants to
impress his mistress, while Jorlan, her former consort,
sullenly does his duty but casts a curious eye over
the prisoners. Any hostile move is met with poisoned
crossbow bolts from the drow, and possibly a strike
from Ilvaras scourge or a ray of sickness spell. The
giant spiders attack and poison anyone who attacks
the drow. The drow dont kill any of the prisoners
(leaving them unconscious at 0 hit points) but have no
compunction about beating them.

Designing D&D Encounters Sessions:


Prisoners of the Drow
3 to 4 Sessions
The wide-open nature of this chapter creates the broadest
possible range of options for your D&D Encounters sessions.
The ultimate goal for the player characters is to escape from
the drow enclave, but how much game time it takes them to
do so depends on the nature of your players.
Give some thought to the types of players in your group
and the style of play they prefer, using the guidelines in the
Dungeon Masters Guidethe Know Your Players section
in the introduction and the Play Style section in chapter
1. Players who love social interaction might easily spend
the entire first session of your campaign roleplaying their
characters incarceration, assessing their potential NPC
allies, and taking the measure of their drow captors. On
the other hand, players who prefer a hack-and-slash style
of play might well be itching for a quick fight to show their
characters displeasure at having been imprisoned.
If you are playing with a new group of players, think about
setting up both a roleplaying encounter and a combat
encounter relatively quickly in your first session. By getting
a sense of how your group enjoys each style of play, you can
shape how the rest of the adventure should progress.
First Session. Count on a good portion of your first session
being dedicated to setting the scene of the characters
imprisonment. Allow as much time for roleplaying as you
and your players are comfortable with, using the characters
need for information as an incentive for them to interact with
the other prisoners (see What the Prisoners Know). As
you need to, interrupt or augment the roleplaying with some
quick combat encounters, either with other prisoners (see
Fight!) or the drow and their quaggoth servants.
The Hard Labor scenario gives the characters a chance
to explore their surroundings, and to interact with the
guards. A fight with drow or quaggoths can easily fill out the
end of your first session and sharpen the characters resolve
to escape.
Subsequent Sessions. Once the characters focus on
breaking free, look to the Means of Escape section to
guide your encounter design. More hard labor can allow the
characters to search for weak spots in the drow defenses
or claim equipment useful in an escape attempt (see
Acquisitions). Alternatively, if the players are more focused
on fighting their way out, you can use Jorlans Gambit or A
Flight of Demons (or combine both those scenarios) to set
up the escape of the adventurers and their NPC allies.
Final Escape. After the characters escape from their
confinement, stealthily exploring Velkynvelve and dealing
with the creatures found there could easily occupy one whole
session or more (especially for characters bent on revenge
against the drow). However, if the characters simply want to
get away from the enclave, dont force them to stick around.
Simply use a random encounter from chapter 2 (or use the
Flight of Demons encounter if you havent already) to fill
out the session if need be.
Maximum XP. This chapter can play out in a number
of different ways, but each character participating in the
adventure should earn a minimum of 300 XP (the amount
that will take a 1st-level character to 2nd level) to a maximum
of 900 XP (the amount that will take a 1st-level character
through 2nd level and to 3rd level).
If the characters are so anxious to escape from the drow
enclave that they dont attain 2nd level, dont force the issue
by automatically having the drow recapture them. Instead,
move on to chapter 2 and start with easy or medium random
encounters to help the characters level up.

Chapter 1: Prisoners of the Drow


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Buppido

Derendil

In the Slave Pen

Velkynvelves slave pen is closed with a heavy iron gate


bolted into the stone. See area 11 for more information
about the slave pen, including options for opening or
breaking through the gate.
The prisoners are provided with clay chamber pots,
and one of the duties of slaves is to empty them into the
pool during their shift. There are no other comforts in
the slave pen. Prisoners must sit or lie on the stone floor,
and are fed only once each daya thin mushroom broth
served in small clay bowls passed through gaps in the
bars of the gate.

Scavenged Possessions
The player characters have not been idle during their
captivity. Have each player roll a d20, and add the
number of days (1d10) that players character has been
imprisoned in Velkynvelve. The result determines what,
if anything, the character has in his or her possession
when the adventure begins.

Scavenged Possessions
Result
29
1012
1315
1618
1921
2224
2527
2830

Item

A gold coin
A living spider the size of a tarantula
A 5-foot-long strand of silk rope
A flawed carnelian gemstone worth 10 gp
A rusted iron bar that can be used as a club
A flint shard that can be used as a dagger
A hand crossbow bolt coated with drow poison
(see Poisons in chapter 8 of the Dungeon
Masters Guide)

Fellow Prisoners
The characters are held with ten other prisoners,
captured during various raids and likewise awaiting
transportation to Menzoberranzan. Some can expect
to be sold as slaves in that great drow city (part of the
full adventure of Out of the Abyss), while others await
death at the hands of the drow or their pets. Regardless

Eldeth
Feldrun

of what they might think of the adventurersand each


otheroutside the slave pens, all the NPCs have good
reason to cooperate in order to escape and survive.

Prisoners of the Drow


Buppido
Prince Derendil
Eldeth Feldrun
Jimjar
Ront
Sarith Kzekarit
Shuushar the Awakened
Stool
Topsy and Turvy

Talkative and cunning derro


Quaggoth who claims to be a
cursed elf prince
Shield dwarf scout
from Gauntlgrym
Deep gnome with a
gambling problem
Orc bully
Drow accused of murder
Kuo-toa hermit and mystic
Myconid sprout
Deep gnome wererat twins

Buppido

A male derro, Buppido is surprisingly gregarious and


talkative, demonstrating a keen mind and a disarming
manner. This pleasant facade conceals the soul of an
insane killer. Buppido secretly believes he is the living
incarnation of the derro god Diinkarazanan avatar
of murder offering bloody sacrifices to create a path
of carnage through the Underdark for his people to
follow to glory. He rationalizes any setbacks (including
his capture and imprisonment) as part of his divine
plan. His killings are carefully ritualized, following
an exacting process of cutting open the victims and
arranging their organs.
Although mad, Buppido is cunning and capable of
hiding his true nature to serve his own ends. Because
he believes he is a god, he is convinced that he cant
be killed (or at least that the death of his mortal form
means nothing to him), so he is completely fearless.
He assumes everything is part of his divine plan, and
enthusiastically participates in any plot to escape from
the drow so he can continue his holy work. Buppido is
happy to consider his fellow prisoners allies until such
time as he no longer needs them, or becomes convinced

Chapter 1: Prisoners of the Drow


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Jimjar

Ront

that the omens point toward the need for one or more of
them to be sacrificed to his greater glory.

Prince Derendil

This hulking quaggoth is the most menacing-looking


prisoner in the slave pens, and the other prisoners
give him a wide berth. If any of the characters speak to
him, however, the quaggoth replies in urbane Elvish.
He explains that he is not, in fact, a quaggoth, but a
gold elf prince polymorphed into quaggoth form by a
curse. He claims to be Prince Derendil of the kingdom
of Nelrindenvane in the High Forest. His crown was
usurped by the evil wizard Terrestor, who trapped him
in this form and exiled him from his people.
Although Derendil behaves like the highborn prince
he believes himself to be, he responds to stressand
particularly threatslike a quaggoth: violently tearing
foes limb from limb and rending their flesh with sharp
claws and teeth. He comes back to himself only after
battle, or when someone reinforces his true identity
to snap him out of it. Derendil laments that he is
slowly but surely losing himself to the savagery of his
quaggoth form.
In fact, Derendil is simply mad, touched by the
delusions of the demon lord Fraz-Urbluu (part of
the full version of Out of the Abyss). The kingdom of
Nelrindenvane doesnt exist, and all of Derendils
recollections and personality are an illusion created by
the Demon Prince of Deception. The quaggoth refuses
to believe the truth, and any incontrovertible evidence as
to his real nature sends him into a murderous rage.

Eldeth Feldrun

A female shield dwarf scout from Gauntlgrym, Eldeth


is high spirited and proud of both her heritage and her
peoples achievement in reclaiming the ancient dwarven
kingdom; she suggests Gauntlgrym as a destination
to escape from the Underdark. Eldeth is stubborn and
hates the drow and all other corrupt dark dwellers
such as the derro and duergar.
Eldeth wants to get back home, but she is also defiant
and self sacrificingand therefore among the most
likely prisoners to perish before getting the opportunity.
If that happens, Eldeth asks a character she trusts to
promise to carry word of her fate back to her family in

Sarith
Kzekarit

Gauntlgrym, along with her shield and warhammer if


they are recovered. This might win the characters the
approval of Eldeths kin if they later visit Gauntlgrym
(part of the full adventure of Out of the Abyss).

Jimjar

A male deep gnome spy, Jimjar is a feckless rogue


with a devil-may-care attitude, a fondness for coin,
and an obsession with betting on virtually anything
and everything. Once he knows the characters, Jimjar
regularly offers them bets on things from their own
efforts (I bet you ten gold you cant get past that sentry
without being seen) to the outcomes of random events
(I bet you twenty gold this tunnel is the right way). He
sometimes uses betting to goad others into doing things,
but characters can easily turn the tables knowing that
Jimjar finds it difficult to refuse a wager. His behavior
is unusual for the dour deep gnomes, and others of his
kind (including Topsy and Turvy) find Jimjar annoying at
best, and unstable and potentially mad at worst.
Jimjar is always true to his word, and he manages to
keep exact track of his debits and credits in his head,
paying up on his bets (or demanding payment) as soon
as possible. Hes not above pocketing a little extra coin
when no one is watching, and he has an amazing ability
to secret significant wealth on his person.
Jimjar feels as though theres something odd about
the twins Topsy and Turvy, but he keeps his opinion to
himself unless asked. He does his best to get along with
everyone, although some find his gregariousness and
constant wagers grating.

Ront

A male orc from the Iceshield tribe, Ront fled from the
slaughter of a band of orcs at the hands of the dwarves,
falling down a shaft and wandering in the Underdark
before being captured by the drow. Hes ashamed of his
cowardly act and knows that Gruumsh, the god of the
orcs, is punishing him. But he also doesnt want to die,
or at least not in drow captivity. Ront is mean, stupid,
and hateful, but he also knuckles under to authority and
threats. He especially hates Eldeth, as his tribe is at war
with her people.

Chapter 1: Prisoners of the Drow


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10

Shuushar
the Awakened

Stool

Ront engages in threatening behavior and bullying


toward the other prisoners unless someone stands
up to him.

Sarith Kzekarit

A male drow, Sarith is sullen and keeps to himself,


rebuffing attempts to talk to him. He is disgraced by his
imprisonment but is resigned to his fate, since there
doesnt appear to be anything he can do about it. Sarith
is accused of murdering one of his fellow drow warriors
in a fit of madness, but he has no memory of it. He varies
between believing the whole thing is a setup to discredit
and destroy him, and fearing that it is all truewhich,
in fact, it is. He is being held until he can be sent back to
Menzoberranzan as a sacrifice to Lolth and an example
to others.
Unknown even to the other drow, Sarith is infected
with tainted spores from myconids corrupted by
Zuggtmoy, the Demon Queen of Fungi (whose dark
plots are part of the full adventure of Out of the Abyss).
The initial infestation of the spores caused Sariths
bout of madness, and his health and sanity continue to
deteriorate as the spores grow within his brain.

A Motley Crew
The other prisoners who manage to escape with the player
characters are likely to become their companions for a
substantial part of the adventure, so it is good to lay the
groundwork for those relationships early on. Some of
the NPCs might not survive the initial escape attempt.
Others might be lost to the dangers of the Underdarkor
might reveal their true colors and betray the party. A few
could become true companions. Keep in mind the other
prisoners have their own personalities and goals, but are
generally willing to cooperate for their own benefit. Their
knowledge of the Underdark should encourage the player
characters to keep them around at least initially.
Since managing such a large cast of NPCs can be quite
involved, enlist the aid of the players if you wish, having
each of them take on the role of managing one or more of
the partys companions. The player generally decides what
that NPC is doing, with the knowledge that you, as Dungeon
Master, can overrule them as needed by the story. Not only
does this make the secondary characters easier to manage,
it helps the players get to know them and strengthens the
bonds between the NPCs and the adventurers.

Topsy and
Turvy

Shuushar the Awakened

A kuo-toa, Shuushar is likely to be one of the more


unusual creatures any of the adventurers have met.
The aquatic hermit is a calm and peaceful presence.
He is aware of his peoples well-deserved reputation
for madness, and claims to have spent a lifetime in
contemplation and solitary meditation to overcome that
legacy. He appears to have been successful, exuding an
aura of enlightened balance. Shuushar is even calm and
accepting of his current imprisonment, merely saying
that it is what it is, and who can say what end it might
eventually lead toward?
Although Shuushar is by far the most sane, stable, and
honest of the adventurers fellow prisoners, he is also
the most useless to their immediate goals. The kuo-toa
hermit is a complete pacifist. He doesnt fight or cause
harm to any other creature, even refusing to defend
himself or others. He gladly accompanies the party if
permitted to do so, however, helping them in any way he
can other than violating his most sacred vow.
Shuushar is familiar with Sloobludop, the kuo-toa
town near the Darklake, and has navigated the twisting
routes of the Darklake for many years. He hopes
to share his enlightenment with his fellow kuo-toa,
although he isnt aware of recent events in Sloobludop
(see chapter 3 for details).

Stool

Stool is a myconid sprout captured by Sarith Kzekarit.


Stool is lonely and frightened, wanting only to return to
its home in Neverlight Grove. If you plan on playing the
full version of Out of the Abyss, Stool can offer to guide
the characters to its home, promising them sanctuary
with its folk. However, it isnt aware of the dangers
posed to the myconids by the influence of the demon
lord Zuggtmoy, explored in the full adventure.
Stool uses rapport spores to establish telepathic
communication with other creatures, and it does so
to communicate with characters who are kind and
friendly toward it. The myconid will also help establish
communication with Underdark denizens with whom
the characters dont share a language. Once it becomes
attached to one or more of the adventurers, Stool
behaves somewhat like an enthusiastic and curious
younger sibling, sticking close to the characters and
asking all kinds of questions.

Chapter 1: Prisoners of the Drow


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11

Topsy and Turvy

Twin deep gnomes, Topsy and her brother Turvy


are originally from Blingdenstone in the Underdark.
They were captured by the drow while out gathering
mushrooms in the tunnels near their home. Like most
other svirfneblin, Topsy has a stringy mop of hair while
Turvy only has a few tufts of hair atop his otherwise
bald head. Topsy is by far the more social of the two.
Turvy constantly mumbles and mutters darkly, with
Topsy repeating or translating what her brother says.
Topsy and Turvy hide the fact that they are wererats.
Infected with the curse of lycanthropy, neither deep
gnome has entirely embraced it yet, and they struggle
to control their wererat instincts and urges. They are
fearful of what potential allies might do if they learn
the truth, and are looking out for each other and their
own survival. With their transformations controlled by
the unseen cycle of the moon, you can use the twins
impending change as a wild card in the adventure.
Theyve been prisoners for less than a month, meaning
the full moon is coming.

What the Prisoners Know


Allow the characters to freely mingle and interact with
their fellow prisoners or even the drow guards, although
the guards rarely talk to the surface-dweller scum. Of
all the prisoners, only Eldeth and Jimjar speak fluent
Common. The others speak Undercommon (or at least
understand it). Ront knows some Common, while
Derendil speaks Elvish. Stools rapport spores can
establish telepathic communication to allow everyone
to speak freely. The guards arent observant enough
to notice.
You might wish to consult the social interaction rules
in the Dungeon Masters Guide, in which case the other
prisoners are initially indifferent toward the characters.
Handle the interactions using roleplaying, Charisma
checks, or a balance of the two as best suits your group
and the way the adventure unfolds.
The characters can learn the following things from
talking with their fellow prisoners, some of who have
been captives of the drow for a tenday or two:
There are nineteen drow at the outpost, including
Ilvara, Shoor, and Jorlan, as well as another priestess
named Asha. There are also a dozen quaggoths and a
number of giant spiders.
Three drow guards watch the slave pen from the
hanging guard tower across the rope bridge, visible
through the locked gate.
The cell has some sort of antimagic effect on it (see
area 11 for details).
Jorlan the drow warrior suffered disfiguring injuries
recently. Before then, he seemed more in Ilvaras
favor. Now Shoor seems to have displaced him.
Jorlan used to have a wand that shot globs of sticky
material able to trap targets. Now Shoor carries it, as
another sign of their change in status.
It might be a matter of days or tendays before a contingent from Menzoberranzan arrives to take prisoners
back to the drow city.

Additionally, the drow Sarith Kzekarit knows


the following:
A gray ooze lives in the pool. Its harmless, feeding off
waste unless disturbed.
A supply patrol from Menzoberranzan is a few days
overdue, which is unusual.

Hard Labor
The drow divide their prisoners into three roughly
equal-sized groups and put them to work for a third
of the day, supervised by the quaggoths. Their menial
tasks include filling and hauling water barrels, operating
the lift, cleaning any or all parts of the outpost (whether
they need it or not), emptying chamber pots, food
preparation and service, washing dishes, and laundry.
The prisoners are also given cruel or pointless tasks to
occupy them, and for the dark elves amusement. Such
labors include moving or stacking rocks, coiling ropes,
and organizing supplies, with prisoners forced to redo
work that doesnt meet the drows arbitrary standards.
Characters might or might not work together,
depending on how the drow split them up. Prisoners
known to be friendly to each other are usually kept
apart, and no more than two or three prisoners are
allowed to work at a single task at once.
The drow and quaggoths are cruel and capricious,
but also somewhat bored and looking for amusement.
The quaggoths are poor conversationalists, hateful and
mistrustful toward the prisoners. The drow are more
inclined to talk, if only to boast of their superiority.
Characters might trick them into dropping useful
bits of information, such as how long the journey to
Menzoberranzan is expected to take, or that the outpost
is relatively close to the Darklake.

Bad Dreams
The characters sleep in the slave pen is troubled and
fitful, filled with strange dreams and disturbing images.
Dark shadows seem to move and reach out toward them
as the characters wander lost through endless mazes of
tunnels. Oily tentacles slide to brush up against them,
while a great buzzing and howling rises in the distance.
Suppurating wounds burst open in clouds of spores or
crawling masses of maggots or insects. At least one or
more of the characters should wake in a cold sweat from
these nightmares after every rest, feeling as though
something is out there in the dark depthssomething
far worse than the drow.
You need not explain the cause of these dreams and
images at this time. Characters can chalk them up to
the conditions in the slave pen, or to the aftereffects of
drow poison, but they are omens of what is happening
in the Underdark. Spellcasters, particularly clerics and
warlocks, might be most prone to these dreams, but
they can visit any or all of the characters.

Fight!
Most of the other prisoners arent looking for trouble,
and even killers such as Buppido are careful to bide
their time. Still, both Derendil and Ront have quick
tempers, and Sarith the drow is prone to bouts of

Chapter 1: Prisoners of the Drow


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12

Roleplaying the Drow


The drow are arrogant, cruel, and vicious, viewing their slaves
as little more than livestock and treating them with cold
disregard. Even the lowest drow understands the inferiority of
other creatures, behaving toward the prisoners like sneering
nobility. With their superiors, however, the drow are fawning
sycophants with a passive-aggressive edge. The males defer
to the females, the rank-and-file warriors defer to the elite
warriors, and everyone defers to the priestess Ilvara.

This event is a convenient opportunity to get rid of one


or more of the other prisoners before the escape attempt
if you dont want them around. As well, you can drive
home the cruelty and threat of the drow by eliminating
an NPC with whom the characters have formed a bond.

The Drow

The garrison at Velkynvelve consists of twelve drow,


five drow elite warriors, a junior drow priestess named
Asha (use the priest stat block in the Monster Manual,
but add the Fey Ancestry, Innate Spellcasting, and
Sunlight Sensitivity features of the drow stat block), and
the outposts commander, a senior drow priestess of
Lolth named Ilvara. The drow have the assistance of a
pack of twelve quaggoths and six trained giant spiders.

Prominent Drow
Ilvara Mizzrym

Drow priestess and commander


of the outpost
Junior priestess
Drow elite warrior. Ilvaras lieutenant
and lover, and Ashas distant cousin
Maimed drow elite warrior. Ilvaras
former lieutenant and lover.

Asha Vandree
Shoor Vandree
Ilvara
Mizzrym

Jorlan Duskryn

Ilvara Mizzrym
violence as Zuggtmoys spores take over his mind. Its
possible the characters could provoke a fight. If they do,
some of the prisoners (including the deep gnomes) egg
on the fighters while others keep their distance or even
try to break up the brawl.
Any violent conflict draws the attention of the drow
guards, who initially order any prisoners to stand down
from a fight, threatening them with hand crossbows
from outside the gate. If necessary, they shoot prisoners
with poisoned crossbow bolts to incapacitate them.
(See chapter 8 of the Dungeon Masters Guide for
information on drow poison.) The guards let any
fight play out for their own amusement as long as the
prisoners dont seem likely to actually kill one another.

Feeding Time
If a prisoner becomes too much trouble, or if the drow
need to mete out a lesson on the price of disobedience,
they make a gruesome spectacle of feeding a malcontent
to the giant spiders in the webs beneath Velkynvelve.
Drow guards or quaggoth servants throw the bound
prisoner over the edge into the webs, where the spiders
quickly converge to bite the victim, injecting their
venom. Once the victim is paralyzed, the spiders wrap
their meal up in webbing.

The commander of Velkynvelve is an ambitious drow


priestess looking to rise in the esteem of Lolth and her
house. She considers command of a mere outpost a
stepping stone in her ascension. The posting is beneath
her, and she treats both it and her prisoners with
contempt. But she also knows the posting is temporary,
and she intends to wring every advantage from it in
the meantime.
A member of a drow house with a long history as
slavers, Ilvara is a cruel mistress who enjoys taunting
and tormenting enemies and underlings alike. In
addition to a scourge, she wields a tentacle rod.
Although she has taken Shoor Vandree as her lover,
Ilvara cares no more about him than she did about
Jorlan Duskryn, the lover she discarded due to his
crippling injuries.

Asha Vandree

A junior drow priestess under Ilvaras guidance, Asha


initially considered Ilvara an example to emulate.
That changed after she saw how Ilvara treated Jorlan
Duskryn, a seasoned drow warrior who was the
commanders lover up until he was badly wounded.
Ilvara discarded Jorlan without a second thought,

Chapter 1: Prisoners of the Drow


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13

showing Asha the foolishness of expecting any reward


for loyalty.
Asha is ambitious enough to know she could assume
command of the outpost if anything was to happen to
Ilvara, but not courageous enough to challenge her
superior openly. She also knows that she would have to
impress her superiors in the City of Spiders for any such
field promotion to become permanent. As such, Asha
moves cautiously, fanning the fires of Jorlans hatred
while keeping her own hands clean of any plotting.

Shoor Vandree

This drow elite warrior has assumed the role of Ilvaras


lieutenant and lover after the injuries suffered by his
predecessor, Jorlan Duskryn. Shoor is relatively young
and quite arrogant for a drow male, proud of his abilities
and accomplishments. He is still flush with his success
in winning the favor of Ilvara and advancing his position
Twithin the outpost, which shows in his swagger and
the way he lords it over every other male in Velkynvelve,
particularly Jorlan. Still insecure in his position, Shoor
feels the need to demonstrate his skill and effectiveness
to his mistress and to find ways to please her.
As Ilvaras lieutenant, Shoor carries a wand of viscid
globs (see appendix B), which once belonged to Jorlan
and is used to capture and restrain prisoners.

Jorlan Duskryn

Jorlan turned a talent for inflicting pain into skill as


a warrior, and a certain roguish charm into a way to
ingratiate himself with his female superiors. He quickly
made himself useful to Ilvara Mizzrym as both the field
commander of the Velkynvelve garrison and as her lover,
enjoying all the benefits that came with both roles.
Jorlan thought that Lolth favored him, or at least
that his charms had deflected her malice, until he had
the misfortune of a run-in with a black pudding on an
otherwise routine raid. Ilvaras healing magic saved
his life but couldnt undo the terrible damage wrought
by the oozes acid. With his once-handsome face
melted and scarred, and his sword hand twisted and
missing two fingers, Jorlan was no longer the warrior
he once was.
Ilvara relieved Jorlan of duty during his recuperation,
replacing him with the young bravo Shoor Vandree.
When she then took Shoor to her bed, Jorlan realized
his recovery would never be sufficient to regain what
he had lost. His heartbreak and loss has since become
a virulent hatred for Ilvara and Shoor that slowly eats
at him. Jorlan finds the idea of suicide or reckless selfdestruction beneath him, howeverunless he can find a
way to take Ilvara and her new lover with him.
Jorlan knows full well that the sympathy the priestess
Asha shows him is an attempt to manipulate him. But
hes willing to play along for the time being, hoping to
draw Asha closer and potentially use her against Ilvara
when the time is right.
Because of his injuries, Jorlan has disadvantage
on attack rolls, Dexterity checks, and Dexterity
saving throws.

Velkynvelve: General Features


The following features apply throughout the outpost.
Light. The interior spaces of the outpost are dimly
illuminated by lanterns containing phosphorescent fungi,
while the exterior is dark.
Sound. A small waterfall pouring into the cavern creates
a constant background noise, negating the caves tendency
to amplify and carry sounds. Checks made to hear things
in the cavern are made normally.
Stairs. These 5-foot-wide stairs are carved into the stone
sides of the cavern between several of the cave entrances.
Bridges. Bridges of spider-silk rope connect the
walkways to the guard tower and the entrance to the
priestesss tower. The swaying bridges are difficult terrain
for non-drow.
Falling. A creature pushed off the stairs, a bridge, or the
edge of a platform must attempt a DC 10 Dexterity saving
throw. On a failure, the creature falls, landing in the webs
stretched beneath the outpost. On a successful save, a
creature grabs hold of the edge and hangs there until it
can climb back up with a DC 10 Strength (Athletics) check
made as part of its movement. A failed Strength check
means the creature is unable to move and must check
again, while failure by 5 or more means a fall to the webs.
Webs. The dense webs of giant spiders kept by the drow
conceal the outpost from below. A creature falling into the
webs becomes restrained. As an action, a restrained creature
can attempt a DC 12 Strength check to break free from the
webs. The webs can also be attacked and destroyed (AC 10,
15 hp per 10-foot section, vulnerability to fire, and immunity
to bludgeoning, poison, and psychic damage). Each foot of
movement in the webs costs 1 extra foot, and any creature
other than a spider that enters the webs or starts its turn
there must succeed on a DC 12 Strength or Dexterity check
to avoid becoming restrained. Any movement in the webs
attracts the attention of the giant spiders, which attack and
feed on trapped creatures.
A creature falling from the webbing to the cavern floor
takes 10d6 bludgeoning damage.

Drow Warriors

The remaining drow males garrisoning Velkynvelve


are named Balok, Bemeril, Guldor, Honemmeth,
Imbros, Jaezred, Jevan, Kalannar, Malagar, Nadal,
Nym, and Sorn.

Velkynvelve

The drow outpost is located high in a cavern, built


100 feet above the rocky floor. The outpost consists
of a series of small caves in the cavern walls and four
hanging towershollowed-out stalactites connected
by walkways, stairs, and rope bridges. The towers are
concealed by the thick webs of giant spiders stretched
below them, so that only the lowermost parts of the
stalactites are visible from the cavern floor.
With the small amount of dim light used in the outpost
shielded from the cavern floor below, one might walk the
entire length of the cleft without becoming aware of the
outpost overhead, hidden in the darkness above the range
of torches and lanterns. The giant spiders also serve as
guards, dropping down on their web strands to prey upon
creatures that find their way into the cavern. Similarly,
drow warriors can drop to the cave floor on lines of
spider silk to ambush enemies.

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14

Three caves and two hanging towers surrounding a


platform make up the main part of the outpost for the
drow warriors. The largest of the hanging towers is
reserved for the priestesses and the shrine of Lolth,
while the other is a guard tower opposite the cave used
to hold slaves. North of the slave pen is the den of the
outposts quaggoth servants. Watch posts lie at either
end of the outpost, near the northern and southern
entrances to the cavern.

1. Southern Watch Post


Near the southern passage from the cavern is an alcove
used as a watch post.
Two drow are stationed here at all times, keeping
watch over the passage and noting the approach of any
creatures. The duty is long and dull, so the watchers are
sometimes distracted. A successful Dexterity (Stealth)
check made against the guards passive Wisdom (Perception) score of 12 allows characters to pass unnoticed.
Any light from the passage or the cavern below automatically draws the guards attention, however.
The drow guards are under orders to report intruders
immediately, and to keep them under observation. They
take no other action unless ordered or unless they see
signs of a significant threat. In that case, they blow
a high, shrill note on a warning trumpet to alert the
whole outpost.

2. Barracks
Stone steps lead from the watch post to a 1-foot-thick
platform of zurkhwood (see Fungi of the Underdark
earlier in this chapter) extending between two of the
hanging towers and into three adjoining caverns.
The two southernmost caves serve as barracks for the
rank-and-file drow warriors of the outpost. Six warriors
dwell in each barracks, each set up with a pallet, a small
zurkhwood chest for holding personal possessions and
equipment, and a side table. Spider silk rope webbing on
the cavern walls is set with hooks for hanging lanterns
and other items, but the barracks are rarely lit.
One drow is present in each of the barracks caves at
any time, resting in a meditative trance. A resting drow
rises at any significant light or noise, ready to attack.

Treasure

The equipment of the resting drow is stored under his


pallet: a shortsword, a hand crossbow with a case of 20
hand crossbow bolts, a chain shirt, and a 100-foot coil of
silk rope with a small grappling hook at the end.
Each of the six chests in each barracks contains
a flask of drow poison used to treat crossbow bolts
(see Poisons in chapter 8 of the Dungeon Masters
Guide). One flask has enough poison to treat 20 bolts.
Each chest also contains two sets of clothing and
1d4 items from the Trinkets table in chapter 5 of the
Players Handbook.

3. Main Hall
This cave serves as a gathering and eating place for the
drow warriors of the outpost. It has four circular tables
carved from zurkhwood, each surrounded by five chairs.

Part of the hall is used as a food preparation and storage


area, containing stocks of dried and fresh fungi, dried
fruits, cheeses, preserved meat, and a few clay jars of
spices. A heavy iron brazier provides heat for cooking
along with dim light, but much of the food is served cold.
At any time, there is a 25 percent chance that 1d4
drow are in the main hall eating or entertaining
themselves with dice or card games. If any drow are
present, 1d4 quaggoths are also on hand, serving and
cleaning. If there are no drow in the main hall, there
is a 25 percent chance that a lone quaggoth is here
performing its duties.

Treasure

There is nothing of value in the main hall apart from


what the drow have on them, but characters can loot
the larder for the equivalent of up to 30 days of rations,
limited by what they can carry. Each day of rations for
one character weighs 2 pounds.

4. Elite Barracks
The two hanging towers flanking the platform are the
quarters of the elite warriors of the outpost, except for
the commanders lieutenant (currently Shoor Vandree)
who has his own quarters in the priestesss tower. Each
hanging tower has two chambers, with a rope ladder
running between the upper and lower chamber through
a zurkhwood trapdoor. The elite warriors have finer
furniture, including zurkhwood chairs and small tables
around which they sit.
One off-duty drow elite warrior rests in one of the
chambers here at any given time. There is a 50 percent
chance that one quaggoth is also present, carrying out
chores such as cleaning up or delivering water. Either
reacts hostilely to intruders, but they might choose to
flee and warn the outpost rather than attack, depending
on the odds.

Treasure

The equipment of the resting drow warrior is stowed


beneath his pallet: a shortsword, a hand crossbow with
a case of 20 bolts, a chain shirt, and a 100-foot coil of
silk rope with a small grappling hook at the end.
Each of the chests in the four chambers contains a
flask of drow poison used to treat crossbow bolts. One
flask has enough poison to treat 20 bolts. Each chest
also contains two changes of clothing, 2d6 sp, 1d8 gp,
and 1d4 items from the Trinkets table in chapter 5,
Equipment, of the Players Handbook.

5. Lift
Attached to the edge of the barracks platform is a winchand-basket device consisting of a large swinging arm
that carries a thin cord of strong spider silk. The cord
runs through a series of pulleys from a hand-cranked
horizontal spool to a heavy woven basket suspended at
the end. The basket is kept up on the platform except
when it is in use.
Two quaggoth attendants remain by the lift to watch
for a signal from below for the basket to be lowered.
They are on guard in case anyone other than a drow or
one of their own kind approaches.

Chapter 1: Prisoners of the Drow


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Chapter 1: Prisoners of the Drow


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Using the Lift

Up to four Medium creatures can fit somewhat snugly


in the basket, which is swung out over the edge of
the platform and lowered to the cavern floor below by
turning the spool using attached handles. This requires
a successful DC 18 Strength check, normally provided
by two quaggoth servants (one of which makes the
check while the other assists with the Help action).
Once on the cave floor, the basket can be loaded with
other passengers or up to 800 pounds of cargo, then
lifted back up to the platform in the same way. It takes 4
rounds for the basket to move between the platform and
the floor under normal operation.

6. Shrine to Lolth
A steep rope bridge leads from the walkway ledge
to the uppermost level of the largest hanging tower,
called the priestesss tower. The floor of this circular
chamber is covered by dark silken mats with a pale webstrand pattern woven through them in silvery thread.
In the middle of the chamber (at the center of the web)
stands a broad pedestal carved from zurkhwood, with
a 10-foot-high sculpted spider at its head. The carving
is so lifelike that anyone initially entering the chamber
and seeing it in dim light must succeed on a DC 12
Wisdom (Perception) check to recognize it. On a failure,
a character mistakes it for a real giant spider.
This place is a shrine to Lolth, the drows spider
goddess, and also serves as quarters for Asha, the junior
priestess. She tends the shrine, overseeing routine
rituals and offerings to Lolth.
Roll a d6 when the characters enter the shrine to
determine who they might meet.

Shrine Activity
d6
12
34
56

Activity
Asha is in the room alone, resting
Asha and 1d4 drow are engaged in worship
The shrine is empty

The back half of the chamber, behind the altar, is piled


with a semicircle of pillows and cushions. Resting
among these is a giant spider trained and kept by the
priestesses. The cushions give the spider sufficient
concealment to hide from anyone entering the tower
from the front. A character must succeed on a Wisdom
(Perception) check contested by the spiders Dexterity
(Stealth) check to spot it before it moves.

Treasure

The altar is flanked by a pair of heavy silver candlesticks


worth 25 gp each. They hold thick black candles, lit only
when a ritual is being performed in the shrine.
The eight eyes of the spider statue are eight pieces
of polished jetfour small ones worth 5 gp each and
four larger ones worth 10 gp each. Any non-drow who
possesses these gems falls under a curse from Lolth. All
spiders and spiderlike creatures attack the bearer of the
stones on sight, and such creatures have advantage on
checks to detect the possessor of the stones. The curse
lasts until all the stones are given into the safekeeping

of a drow worshiper of Lolth or the gems are subject to a


remove curse spell.

7. Ilvaras Quarters
A rope ladder leads down from the shrine into this
chamber, which serves as private quarters to Mistress
Ilvara, priestess of Lolth and commander of Velkynvelve.
Inside, the walls are hung with black mesh resembling
a spiders web, extending from a central spot on the
ceiling out to the walls, then draped down like curtains.
Thick, woven mats cover the floor, while a low platform
is covered with cushions and pillows to make a broad,
divan-like bed. One side of the chamber contains a
small table and two chairs, while the other holds a small
shrine to Lolth, draped in white silk. A heavy chest of
black-stained zurkhwood sits at the foot of the bed.
Ilvara retreats to her quarters for privacy, rest, and
meditation. Roll a d6. On 12, the priestess is here. On
a roll of 1, Shoor Vandree is also here with her. Ilvara is
furious if anyone dares to enter her quarters unbidden.
If the characters catch her here, she casts web, conjure
animals, or insect plague to bedevil them while she flees
and calls for help. If Shoor is with Ilvara, he attacks to
cover her escape.

Trap

The chest is locked, and Ilvara keeps the key in a hidden


pocket on the inside of her belt. The lock is trapped with
a poison needle tipped with drow poison (see Poisons
in chapter 8 of the Dungeon Masters Guide), which is
activated if any attempt is made to open the lock without
the proper key. The victim takes 1 piercing damage and
must succeed on a DC 13 Constitution saving throw or
be poisoned for 1 hour. If the saving throw fails by 5 or
more, the target is also unconscious while poisoned in
this way. A successful DC 20 Intelligence (Investigation)
check reveals the trap. A character using thieves tools
can make a successful DC 15 Dexterity check to disarm
it. Picking the lock requires thieves tools and another
successful DC 15 Dexterity check.

Treasure

The side table holds a small silver-framed mirror worth


10 gp. The small shrine to Lolth is carved of zurkhwood
and bone, and inlaid with semiprecious stones. It is
worth 50 gp if the characters can find a buyer for it.
The chest contains a variety of silken garments and
personal items. There is a silver chain headdress set
with small onyx stones, worth 50 gp, and a drawstring
bag containing two potions of healing. A small leather
purse contains 24 gp, 30 sp, and a small moonstone
worth 20 gp, while another purse is Ilvaras spare spell
component pouch.
Additionally, the chest contains any valuables once
held by the characters and NPCs, including any
spellbooks, components, focuses, and magic items lost
to the adventurers.

8. Shoors Quarters
The lowermost and smallest chamber of the priestesss
tower belongs to the commanders lieutenant, the leader
of the elite warriors of the outpost. Shoor Vandree,

Chapter 1: Prisoners of the Drow


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17

Ilvaras current favorite, is the present occupant. The


areas former occupant, Jorlan Duskryn, has been
displaced to the elite barracks after his recent injuries.
The chamber contains cushions laid out across floor
mats, a small carved table with two chairs, and a sturdy
zurkhwood chest.
Shoor spends most of his off-duty time in Ilvaras
quarters, attending to his mistress or awaiting her.
Unless you wish him to be found here, his quarters are
unoccupied.

Trap

The chest is locked, and Shoor keeps the key in his belt
pouch. The lock is trapped with a poison needle trap
identical to the one in Ilvaras quarters.

Treasure

The table holds a pewter pitcher and a pair of matched


goblets, worth a total of 1 gp.
The chest contains Shoors personal items and
clothing, as well as a small purse containing 20 gp,
a black velvet mask stitched with silver thread in a
spiderweb pattern (worth 25 gp), a set of bone dice
engraved with Elvish characters (worth 10 gp), a small
black velvet bag containing a spider-shaped onyx brooch
(worth 50 gp), and a flask of strong, syrupy blue liquor
(worth 10 gp). The liquor leaves anyone who drinks it
pleasantly poisoned for 1d4 hours.

9. Waterfall
Water vents through a crack in the ceiling near the
eastern wall between the stalactites of the priestesss
tower and the guard tower, creating a small waterfall
that pours down to the cavern floor and forms a natural
pool (see area 14). Quaggoths gather small barrels
of water from the head of the waterfall to serve the
outposts needs.
The water makes the stone wall within 10 feet of it
difficult to scale. Any creature attempting to do so has
disadvantage on checks made to climb. Any character
who falls lands in the pool below, taking no damage.

10. Guard Tower


The fourth hanging tower, connected by rope bridges to
the slave pen and the walkway alongside the priestesss
tower, serves as a guard tower for observing the cavern,
the western passage, and the slave pen.
The lower chamber of the tower is occupied by two
drow and one drow elite warrior on guard duty. It
contains a zurkhwood table and three chairs, a smaller
side table, and spider-silk webbing set with hooks for
hanging equipment.
As at the watch posts, guard duty here is a dull affair,
and the guards are usually distracted enough (talking
or passing the time with dice games) that prisoners
can move or act unnoticed with a successful Dexterity
(Stealth) check contested by the guards passive Wisdom
(Perception) score.
The towers upper chamber stores extra arms and
armor for the outpost. Characters who gain entrance to
the armory can easily loot it (see Treasure).

Treasure

The contents of the armory include the following:











6 chain shirts
6 suits of studded leather armor
6 shields
6 hand crossbows
20 cases of hand crossbow bolts, each case containing 20 bolts
6 shortswords and 10 daggers
6 bags of caltrops (20 caltrops per bag)
4 100-foot-long coils of silk rope
2 building hammers (not usable as weapons)
2 bags of iron spikes (10 spikes per bag)

11. Slave Pen


This cave is built to hold captives until they are sent to
Menzoberranzan to be sold as slaves.
The gate to the slave pen is kept locked. A character
using thieves tools can pick the lock with a successful
DC 20 Dexterity check. A character using makeshift
tools can attempt the same check but has disadvantage.
A lock-picking attempt might draw the attention of
the guards, requiring a Dexterity (Stealth) check
contested by the guards passive Wisdom (Perception)
score to carry it off without notice. Each of the guards
on duty in the other areas of the outpost has a key to
the gate hanging from a belt ring. Breaking the gates
lock and forcing it open requires a successful DC 20
Strength check.

Magical Wards

The drow have placed powerful wards on the slave


pen to inhibit spellcasters and shield the area against
scrying attempts.
Spells cast within the slave pen have no effect, and
any slot or magic item charge expended to cast such a
spell is consumed. The wards dont suppress or negate
spell effects that originate outside the slave pen. For
example, a creature under the effect of an invisibility
spell remains invisible when it enters the slave pen.
Creatures inside the slave pen cant be targeted by
any divination magic or perceived through magical
scrying sensors.

12. Quaggoth Den


Beyond the slave pen and down a set of stone steps, this
cave is used as a den by the dozen quaggoths that serve
the drow of Velkynvelve. The interior is littered with
nest-like mounds of debris and the scattered bones of
the quaggoths past meals.
These servants of the drow use the den only to sleep
and eat, with 1d4 quaggoths resting here at any given
time. The quaggoths attack any creature that comes into
their den that isnt a drow, a spider, or one of their kind.
They dont initially attack unknown quaggoths or drow
on sight, but they know all those assigned to the outpost
and will question strangers. Derendil and Sariths status
as prisoners is known to them.

Chapter 1: Prisoners of the Drow


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13. Northern Watch Post


This small alcove just past and below the quaggoth den
has the same features as the watch post at area 1.
Two drow are stationed here on watch, typically
hating that duty for its proximity to the quaggoth den,
the slave pen, and the pool.

14. Pool
Water pouring down from the waterfall at area 9
forms a 20-foot-deep pool before flowing out into an
underground river that travels several miles before
spilling into the Darklake. Since the drow take the water
they need from the top of the waterfall, they use the pool
to dump waste and garbage. Although this fouls the
surface of the pool, the constant flow keeps the water
beneath the surface clear.
A gray ooze lurks in the pools shallows, blending
perfectly with the dark, wet stone. It feeds on the
waste dumped into the pool, along with the occasional
creature that finds its way into the cavern or falls
into the pool.
The inhabitants of Velkynvelve remain unaware
that the recent arrival of the demon lord Juiblex in the
Underdark (as detailed in the full version of Out of the
Abyss) has made this ooze particularly aggressive and
malevolent. In addition to attacking any creature in the
pool, the ooze surges up to 10 feet out of the pool to
attack creatures at its edge. When it does so, creatures
within 30 feet of the ooze telepathically sense a voice
cry out, Flesh for the Faceless Lord!

Means of Escape

Unless they want to spend the rest of their lives as drow


slaves, the characters should quickly begin looking
for ways they can escape. Though the task will not
be easy, the characters can take advantage of certain
opportunities if they use their heads.

Acquisitions
One or more of the characters might have useful items
in their possession (see Scavenged Possessions), and
working outside the slave pen creates new opportunities
for the characters to acquire and hide small items,
including makeshift weapons or tools, or even lift a key
to the slave pen from a guard. What they can acquire
depends on the work they do and where they go. Use
the description of the different locations throughout the
outpost as a guide to opportunities. Taking something
without being noticed requires a successful Dexterity
(Sleight of Hand) check contested by the Wisdom
(Perception) checks of any active observers, or using an
observers passive Wisdom (Perception) score as the
base DC. A prisoner that fails the check is commanded
to relinquish the item, on pain of death.
What equipment and treasures the characters claim
during their escape depend on how much of the outpost
they are able to explore before fleeing. For some
characters, it might be a fun challenge to escape into
the Underdark with little more than the clothes on their
backs. For others (including spellcasters who need

spellbooks or components), consider placing the partys


captured equipment (normally in Ilvaras quarters) in
an alternate location if the characters are intent on
escaping without exploring all of the outpost, such as
the elite drow barracks (area 4) or the armory (area 10).

Jorlans Gambit
When the initial contact between the adventurers and
the other prisoners has been played out, Jorlan Duskryn
arranges to bring the prisoners their food during
his guard duty. (Shoor delights in giving Jorlan such
menial work). Standing at the gate to the slave pen and
passing in bowls, he mutters to the nearest character:
If I could give you a means to escape from here, would
you take it?
If the answer is affirmative, Jorlan quickly and quietly
proposes to leave the gate to the slave pen unlocked,
as well as to create a distraction during the changing
of the guards on duty. He tells the characters about the
armory, located in the chamber above the guard post in
the hanging guard tower in front of the slave pen. The
escapees can jump down into the webs below, then over
the edge into the pool, making their escape from there.
Jorlan doesnt particularly care if the prisoners
actually escape, which is why he doesnt offer any
further help or warn them about the gray ooze in the
pool. It suits him just as well if the prisoners are killed
during their attempt to flee. He simply wants to create
an embarrassing incident for Shoor and Ilvara.
Jorlan furtively glances around as he speaks quickly to
the characters. If they question him or ask for changes
to the plan, he insists it is all he can do. If they accept, he
is true to his word, leaving the gate unlocked close to the
next guard shift change and delaying the replacement
guards for a few minutes.

A Flight of Demons
During a guard change, the prisoners hear a horrible
droning buzz echoing through the cavern, followed by
inhuman shrieking. Alarm horns sound out as four
chasme demons pursue a pair of vrock demons into the
cavern from the northern passage. The demons swoop
and buzz around, initially ignoring other creatures as
both groups savagely assault each other. The demons
arrival catches all of the drow off guard.
The drow rush to defend the outpost from a possible
attack. The demons initially buzz past the hanging
towers, leaving the walkways and caverns out of range
of the effects of their droning and screeching. However,
drow and quaggoths in the towers are close enough to
be affected. The aerial battle eventually circles around
the platform and the towers of the elite warriors as the
demons savagely tear into each other.
The drow move to engage the demons and defend
the outpost, leaving the characters with an opportunity
to escape. You can combine this event with Jorlans
offer to leave the gate unlocked, making it easy for the
characters to slip away. Alternatively (or if they refuse
Jorlans offer), the characters can use the distraction
to engineer their own breakout, then decide how to get
down to the cavern floor and where to go after that.

Chapter 1: Prisoners of the Drow


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Describe the chaos of the demon attack and the


drows response as the escaped prisoners try to flee.
The characters can follow Jorlans suggestion to drop
into the webs and then dive into the pool, possibly
dealing with a giant spider or two and the gray ooze
along the way. Alternatively, they can look for another
way down. Reaching the lift requires getting past the
drow clustered on the platform and then attempting to
operate it during the attack, which might prove difficult.
If you want to provide an additional challenge for the
characters, a vrock tumbles almost in front of them as
they reach the cavern floor or move toward their chosen
exit. The demon is badly wounded, but even with only
11 hit points remaining and having expended its spores
and stunning screech abilities, it is still quite dangerous.
It screeches at the characters, but if they do nothing
to threaten it for 1 round, the demon takes wing and
launches itself back into the fight overhead.
If the adventurers take on the fallen vrock and defeat
or escape from it, award them a quarter of its usual XP
value, or 575 XP, given its weakened state.
If Jorlan is alive when the demons attack, he might
use the distraction to free the prisoners (as described in
Jorlans Gambit). Any character who asks Jorlan about
the demons gets a stern reply: The demons are not my
doing. Fight them at your own risk.

XP Awards

In addition to the XP awards earned for overcoming the


creatures in this chapter, escaping from Velkynvelve
earns the characters a special award of 150 XP (divided
equally among all party members).

Leaving Velkynvelve

The characters have three choices for leaving


Velkynvelve: the north, west, and south passages.

North Passage
This leads toward Menzoberranzan and
Blingdenstonetwo great cities of the Underdark, each
of which is part of the full adventure of Out of the Abyss.
Most of the characters fellow prisoners discourage
travel toward the drow city, and the deep gnomes
suggest Blingdenstone as a route out of the Underdark.
Unless you are playing the full adventure of Out of the
Abyss, the party should follow a circuitous route
westward toward the Darklake (see chapter 3).

West Passage
This leads most directly toward the Darklake (see
chapter 3). If you are playing the full version of Out of
the Abyss, the party might eventually veer south toward
the duergar city of Gracklstugh.

South Passage
This leads toward Gracklstugh (detailed in the full
version of Out of the Abyss), following a south-westerly
route. Characters might need to pass under the battling
demons, but the cavern floor is well out of range of
their droning and screeching. The demons locked in
combat ignore the escaping prisoners, with the possible
exception of a fallen vrock (see A Flight of Demons).
Whichever route the characters take, chapter 2 covers
their passage through the Underdark toward their
eventual destination.

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20

Chapter 2: Into Darkness


Once the adventurers escape from Velkynvelve, theyll
want to escape the Underdark. Already miles beneath
the surface, they must make their way through an
endless maze of passages and caverns, avoid pursuit
by the drow, and find a route to the world aboveall the
while dealing with the dangers of the Underdark and
struggling to find the resources they need to survive.
This chapter presents guidelines for the characters
travels between a number of Underdark locales. This
D&D Encounters adventure focuses on travel between
Velkynvelve (in chapter 1) and the kuo-toa settlement
of Sloobludop on the Darklake (in chapter 3). The
other areas discussed in this chapter appear in the full
adventure of Out of the Abyss, or can be developed for
adventures of your own. The Darklake region offers
modifications to these travel guidelines, as do some
of the other areas detailed in the full Out of the Abyss
adventure.
This chapter also offers guidelines for the drow
pursuit of the escaped prisoners, along with additional
encounters you can place along the adventurers route
as they travel.

Where to Go?

The players first question upon escaping from


Velkynvelve is likely, Where do we go next? The
adventurers must find a way out of the Underdark and
back to the surface world. Their NPC companions have
destinations of their own in mind, and are the ones best
able to navigate the subterranean realms. As such, the
adventurers will be dependent on their guidance. (If you
plan on playing the full version of Out of the Abyss or
adding to this D&D Encounters adventure by creating
your own Underdark scenarios, you can make use of
connections to Gracklstugh, Blingdenstone, Neverlight
Grove, and other areas of the Underdark. For the
purpose of this adventure, you will steer the adventurers
toward the Darklake and chapter 3.)
The NPCs can offer directions and
suggestions as follows:
Buppido knows how to reach Gracklstugh from the
southern route out of Velkynvelve. He can also find a
route to Gracklstugh from the Darklake. If you plan on
playing the full version of Out of the Abyss, Buppido

Chapter 2: Into Darkness


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21

On Their Own
In the event that none of the prisoners who manage to
escape with the party can navigate in the Underdark
or none that the characters are willing to heed at any
ratethe adventurers will be forced to wander. The party
remains lost until the characters encounter creatures able
to give them directions or intent on capturing them. Such
creatures can include kuo-toa from Sloobludop, duergar
slavers or merchants from Gracklstugh, the goblins from
the Silken Paths encounter, or even their drow pursuers
intent on dragging them back to Velkynvelve.

can urge the characters to go to Gracklstugh to


acquire better equipment, and out of a desire to return
to his people. He also intends to murder the characters one by one along the way, believing them to be
divine offerings delivered into his hands.
Prince Derendil, the delusional quaggoth, cant offer
any useful directions, but he gladly accompanies the
party, eager to go to the surface world.
Eldeth Feldrun is unfamiliar with this region of the
Underdark and cant navigate, but she has a +5 bonus
on Wisdom (Survival) checks and can help out in
that regard.
Jimjar can guide the party to Blingdenstone from the
north route out of Velkynvelve. If you plan on playing
the full version of Out of the Abyss, the svirfneblin
city will give the characters access to the surface,
although Jimjar is fine with visiting other interesting
places along the way, as well as taking Stool back
to its home.
Ront is unfamiliar with the Underdark and cant navigate. Hes willing to stick with the adventurers as long
as they seek a destination that gets him back to the
surface world.
Sarith Kzekarit is the best potential guide in the
group, but also the most deceptive. He can navigate to
any region of the Underdark shown on the map. If you
plan on playing the full version of Out of the Abyss,
Sarith can encourage the characters to travel to
Neverlight Grove, which is detailed in that full adventure. He claims to want to take advantage of Stools
offer of sanctuary, but it is actually the influence of
Zuggtmoys demon-tainted spores upon his mind.
Shuushar can navigate through the Darklake once
the party is within three miles of any part of it. Hes
willing to travel with the characters and guide them,
and suggests visiting the kuo-toa town of Sloobludop
to acquire boats. Shuushar wishes to return to his
own people in hopes of guiding them to the enlightenment he has achieved. If you are playing this D&D
Encounters edition of Out of the Abyss as a standalone
adventure, Shuushars advice is a good way to get the
characters into chapter 3.
Stool cant navigate and has no knowledge of the
local area, but it desperately wants to return home to
Neverlight Grove. If you plan on playing the full version of Out of the Abyss, Stool claims that its people
will be grateful and offer the party shelter and aid, and
describes its sovereign as wise in the hidden ways of
the Underdark.

Designing D&D Encounters Sessions:


Into Darkness
3 to 5 Sessions
Though this chapter features a number of set locationbased encounters (see below), its primary focus is on
crafting random encounters. By drawing on a wide range
of challenges the characters can face while journeying
through the Underdark, you can create an exciting and
wide-open range of D&D Encounters sessions. The size of
your group and your own style as DM will help determine
how many encounters will comfortably fill a single session.
If you and your group enjoy an unpredictable and fastmoving play style, you can roll for random encounters
during a session, using this chapters terrain and
encounter tables to create exciting skirmishes on the
fly. If you want to better organize your sessions, you can
roll encounter elements ahead of time to sketch out a
sessions worth of exploration, interaction, and combat.
You can also choose elements from the different tables,
forgoing random generation to create encounters you
think will be fun to run. Whichever approach you use,
prepare a few easy or medium encounters ahead of time in
case you need to fill out a session.
Long-Distance Travel. If you plan on continuing your
campaign with the full version of Out of the Abyss or your
own Underdark adventures, youll come back to this
chapter time and again as the characters journey through
the Underdark. If you are playing this D&D Encounters
edition of Out of the Abyss as a standalone adventure,
this chapter will focus on the characters journey from
Velkynvelve to the Darklake and Sloobludop (in chapter 3).
Old Friends. The dogged pursuit of the dark elves intent
on recapturing the party (see Drow Pursuit) can provide
a starting framework for a number of play sessions in
this chapter of the book, as the players carefully plan
their movement to best elude the drow, decide to set up
ambush encounters, or are attacked by their pursuers.
Drow encounters might occur in more than one play
session, but such encounters should never become
repetitive. Use terrain encounters and additional creatures
to make any repeat drow encounters unique.
Set Encounters. Each of the set encounters at the end of
this chapterThe Silken Paths, Hook Horror Hunt,
The Oozing Temple, or Lost Tomb of Khaemcan
provide the core of a full session of play. However, if youre
planning on continuing with the full version of Out of the
Abyss, save some of those encounters to use during the
adventurers travels to other locations in the Underdark.
Maximum XP. Characters who participate in this chapter
of the adventure should advance to 4th level, gaining
experience points depending on how the characters
advanced in chapter 1. Characters starting this chapter at 1st
level can earn a maximum of 2,700 XP to take them to 4th
level. Characters starting at 2nd level can earn a maximum
of 2,400 XP, while characters starting at 3rd level can earn a
maximum of 1,800 XP.

Topsy and Turvy can navigate to Blingdenstone, but


theyre reluctant to do so. As such, they are likely to
support any suggestion that will not take them to their
former home. Once they feel safer, theyre likely to
strike out on their own, just as they were before the
drow captured them.

Chapter 2: Into Darkness


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22

Chapter 2: Into Darkness


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23

Underdark Travel

Encounter Setup

The Underdark is a vast network of caverns, tunnels,


vaults, and passages stretching from one end of Faern
to the other. Its physical features are even more varied
than those of the surface world. Subterranean rivers,
fungus fields, deep gorges, underground cities, yawning
chasmsthe adventurers will have to deal with all these
features and more.
Much of the partys travel through the Underdark
is handled abstractly, using the rules and advice in
chapter 8, Adventuring, of the Players Handbook.
The following specific guidelines apply to travel in the
Underdark during this adventure.

Travel Pace
Travel pace in the Underdark is significantly slower
than for overland travel. Not only are the tunnels and
passages often difficult terrain with uneven surfaces,
but routes in the Underdark are rarely direct, and
the characters must follow available passages and
their various twists and turns, climbs and descents.
Creatures that can burrow through solid rock (such as
purple worms) move at their normal burrowing speed,
but this isnt likely an option for the party.

Underdark Travel Pace


Pace
Fast
Normal
Slow

Miles Per Day


8
6
4

Effect
5 penalty to passive Wisdom
(Perception) scores; no foraging

Improved foraging, or able


to use Stealth

A fast pace makes it harder to spot ambushes or


items of interest and prevents the characters from
foraging, while a slow pace allows the characters
to travel stealthily enough to surprise or sneak past
creatures they encounter, and improves their chances of
successful foraging for food and water.
The Underdark Travel Times table shows the time
to travel between different locations in the Underdark.
Travel between Velkynvelve and Sloobludop is the focus
of this D&D Encounters adventure; the other locations
are featured in the full version of Out of the Abyss.
These times assume that the party moves at a normal
pace without stopping (other than for time spent resting
or becoming lost). For a fast pace, reduce the travel
times by one third; for a slow pace, increase them by
one third.

When an encounter occurs during the adventurers


journey, a number of factors will play into its setup and
potential difficulty.

Space and Marching Order

Ask the players to establish two marching orders for


the charactersone for moving single file and one for
moving two abreast. Then when an encounter occurs,
roll a d6. On a roll of 12, the party is traveling through
a narrow passageway, so position the adventurers in
the single-file marching order. On a roll of 34, the
characters are traveling through a standard passageway
and can use the two-abreast marching order. On a roll of
56, the encounter occurs in a large open area, so allow
the players to position the characters wherever they like.

Illumination

Roll a d6 to determine how an encounter area is


illuminated. On a roll of 13, the area is dimly lit by
the phosphorescent moss and lichen common in the
Underdark, or by faerzress (see Faerzress). On a roll of
46, the area is dark except for whatever light sources
the characters might have.

Noticing Threats
The passive Wisdom (Perception) scores of characters
in the party count toward noticing hidden threats only if
both the following conditions are met:
The characters are able to see the threat (due to illumination or darkvision) or otherwise perceive it.
The characters arent engaged in other activities,
including navigating or foraging.
A fast pace imposes a 5 penalty to passive Wisdom
(Perception) scores to notice threats. You might also
decide that only characters in a particular rank of the
marching order are able to notice a specific threat.

Surprise

When an encounter occurs, determine if the


adventurers or their foes are surprised, as normal. The
adventurers can achieve surprise only if all the following
conditions are met:
The encounter occurs while the party is moving (not
stopped or camped).
The party elected the stealth option while moving at
a slow pace.
At least one party member is capable of noticing the
threat and communicating it to the rest of the group.

Underdark Travel Times


Location
Velkynvelve
Sloobludop
Gracklstugh
Neverlight Grove
Blingdenstone
Menzoberranzan

Velkynvelve

8 days
28 days
36 days
30 days
26 days

Sloobludop
8 days

20 days
26 days
20 days
20 days

Gracklstugh
28 days
20 days

12 days
20 days
27 days

Neverlight Grove
36 days
26 days
12 days

16 days
24 days

Blingdenstone
30 days
20 days
20 days
16 days

8 days

Menzoberranzan
26 days
20 days
27 days
24 days
8 days

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24

Navigating
Becoming lost is a serious risk in the twisting tunnels
of the Underdark, and travelers can wander in circles
without knowing it. Creatures unfamiliar with a
given region of the Underdark are automatically lost,
wandering in a random direction for every 4 hours of
travel until they encounter an area they are familiar with
(which could be a very long time).
Even creatures that know the routes of the Underdark
arent immune. For each day of travel, and any time
the characters set out again after finishing a short or
long rest, the partys navigator makes a DC 10 Wisdom
(Survival) check. If the party is moving at a slow pace,
the navigator gains a +5 bonus to the check, while a fast
pace imposes a 5 penalty. A failed check result means
the characters become lost, wandering in a random
direction for 1d6 hours before the navigator can make a
new check to find the right path.

Mapping
A character not focused on any other taskincluding
watching for danger while travelingcan record the
groups progress through the Underdark and create a
map of the route. Such a map can be a useful resource if
the characters need to retrace their steps, whether you
plan to play the full adventure of Out of the Abyss or you
want to expand this adventure with your own Underdark
adventures. Having a map allows the party to navigate
a previously explored area without any chance of
becoming lost.

Foraging
Unless they obtain a supply of food and water, the
adventurers must forage to survive on their journey.
Finding sustenance in the Underdark is difficult but
not impossible. Characters can gather food and water
if the party travels at a normal or slow pace. A foraging
character makes a Wisdom (Survival) check. The DC is
typically 15, but might be as high as 20 in some parts
of the Underdark. Food and water requirements for
characters are described in chapter 8, Adventuring, of
the Players Handbook.
In addition to foraging, spells such as create food and
water and goodberry can help provision the party, and
theres always a chance for the characters to encounter
others from whom they can buy or steal provisions.
Additionally, many creatures the adventurers might
meet and kill can be butchered, but the meat they yield
spoils after a single day if uneaten. Eating spoiled meat
might require a Constitution saving throw to keep the
meal down, a Wisdom saving throw to avoid acquiring
a level of madness from the awful experience (see
Madness later in this chapter), or both.

Creature Food Yield


Creature Size
Tiny
Small
Medium
Large

Food Gained
1 lb.
4 lb.
16 lb.
32 lb.

The characters need to forage and acquire supplies


serves as a motivator to drive them to explore and visit
different parts of the Underdark. The more desperate
their need becomesas levels of exhaustion rack up
the more risk players will likely be willing to take.

Time-Keeping
With no sunlight, visible sky, seasons, or weather in the
Underdark, most characters can only track the passage
of time based on their periods of rest. Most Underdark
creatures do the same (if they care about timekeeping at
all), unless there is a local means of keeping time.

Faerzress
An unusual magical energy the drow call faerzress
pervades much of the Underdark. The origin of this
mysterious arcane power is unknown. Legend claims
it is an ancient elven magic dating back to the time
when the dark elves were first exiled from the world
above. The drow and other Underdark creatures use the
properties of areas suffused with faerzress to protect
their settlements.
Areas suffused with faerzress can range in size from
a few dozen feet across to several miles in diameter, and
feature the following effects:
Areas suffused with faerzress are always filled
with dim light.
A creature in an area suffused with faerzress has
advantage on saving throws against any divination spells. If a divination spell doesnt allow a
saving throw, the caster must succeed on a DC 15
Constitution saving throw to cast the spell. Failing
this save means the spell is wasted and has no effect.
Any creature attempting to teleport into, within, or out
of a faerzress-suffused area must succeed on a DC 15
Constitution saving throw. On a failed save, the creature takes 1d10 force damage and the teleportation
attempt fails. Even if the save succeeds, the teleportation attempt can suffer a mishap as if the destination
was known only by description, regardless of how
familiar the destination actually is. See the table in
the teleport spell for more information.
Areas suffused with faerzress have become tainted by
the chaos of the demon lords. When a spell is cast in
a faerzress-suffused area, the caster rolls a d20. On a
roll of 1, the spell has an additional effect, determined
by rolling on the Wild Magic Surge table in chapter 3,
Classes, of the Players Handbook.
Though faerzress cant be dispelled, its effects are
temporarily suppressed in the area of an antimagic field.

Equipment

The equipment the characters have on hand will depend


on what they were able to salvage or steal in their
escape from Velkynvelve. Indeed, one of the primary
reasons for the party to visit known settlements in
the Underdark is to acquire proper equipment and
provisions.

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25

Crafting
Characters can use downtime during their travels
to craft equipment, provided they are proficient with
the necessary tools and have access to them (see
Downtime Activities in chapter 8 of the Players
Handbook). Having to improvise tools doubles the
crafting time, and some items require materials that
are hard to find in the Underdark, including wood and
other surface-world plants. Leather, bone, or zurkhwood
(see Fungi of the Underdark later in this chapter)
might substitute in some cases. Crafting can include
modifying scavenged or salvaged items to fit other
needs, such as creating a makeshift suit of armor from
gathered pieces of armor and other materials.

Components
Spellcasters might be without material components
for their spells (see Components in chapter 10 of
the Players Handbook). They can acquire component
pouches and spellcasting focuses from defeated enemy
spellcasters, settlements, and traders, or they can
craft such items during their downtime activities while
traveling.

Madness

At the best of times, the Underdark is a bizarre, alien,


and inhospitable world, but the influence of the demon
lords has transformed it into a domain of madness and
chaos. Faerzress acts as a catalyst, spreading the demon
lords madness throughout the Underdark.
Once the party escapes Velkynvelve and strikes
out into the Underdark, begin taking into account the
effects of demonic madness on the characters sanity
(see Madness in chapter 8 of the Dungeon Masters
Guide). At various times in the adventure, characters
will be called upon to make a saving throw to resist
some madness-inducing effect. In addition, you can have
one or more characters make a saving throw against
madness whenever one of the following events occurs:
The characters encounter or witness something particularly alien or disturbing (such as a demon lord).
The characters stay in a faerzress-suffused area for a
long time (eight or more consecutive hours).
A character takes psychic damage, particularly in an
area suffused with faerzress.
In Out of the Abyss, madness is measured in
three levels:

Madness Levels
Level
1
2
3

Effect
Bout of short-term madness (lasts 1d10 minutes)
Bout of long-term madness (lasts 1d10 10 hours)
Bout of indefinite madness (lasts until cured)

A creatures madness level starts at 0. When the


creature fails a madness saving throw, its madness level
increases by 1, and the creature immediately suffers the
levels effect (as determined by rolling on the Short-Term
Madness, Long-Term Madness, or Indefinite Madness

table in the Dungeon Masters Guide, as appropriate).


When the effect ends, the creatures madness level
doesnt change. Any time the creatures madness level
increases, it suffers the effect of the new level.
If a creature with level 3 madness fails a madness
saving throw, its madness level becomes 1. In this way,
characters can potentially accumulate multiple forms
of madness.
Bouts of short- and long-term madness can be cured
as described in the Dungeon Masters Guide. Given
the demonic source of the madness, remove curse
and dispel evil are also effective as cures. A greater
restoration spell or more powerful magic is needed to
cure indefinite madness and also resets a creatures
madness level to 0.

Death

Allowing the chips to fall where they may in combat


emphasizes the challenging nature of this adventure.
However, if the characters start falling just as fast, you
might want to give the players some opportunities to
return dead characters to life during the lower levels of
their progress through Out of the Abyss.
A spell scroll of raise dead can turn up among some
treasure, either when it is needed or for the characters
to save for later. A successful DC 15 spellcasting ability check is required for a lower-level character to use
such a scroll.
A strange faerzress effect can bring a fallen character back to life, but not without a cost. The restored
characters madness level increases by 1 upon being
restored to life (see Madness earlier in this chapter).
If a fallen characters body is lost or left behind, the
partys drow pursuers find it. The drow high priestess
casts raise dead on the corpse so that the character
can be questioned. The character might escape to be
reunited with the other adventurers. (This outcome is
especially useful if you are playing the full version of
Out of the Abyss, or if you plan on playing your own
Underdark adventures after completing this D&D
Encounters adventure.)
If a player character is permanently slain, think about
the ways a player might introduce a new character to the
party in the midst of a journey through the Underdark.
Convert one of the groups existing nonplayer character alliesincluding fellow escaped prisoners from
Velkynvelveinto a player character. Drow, dwarf,
and deep gnome characters are all easily playable.
You can even allow a player to take control of a more
unusual NPC until a new character can join the group.
This is particularly suitable if the player has already
been managing that NPC (see A Motley Crew
in chapter 1).
A creature encounter could reveal a potential new
party member, such as a surface dweller lost in the
Underdark or sent there to investigate rumors of
strange happenings. An escaped slave from another
Underdark settlement is another possibility.
A monster encountered by the party might be holding other victims or hostages (a giant spider with a

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26

still-living victim wrapped up in its web, or troglodytes


holding prisoners destined for their larder, for example). Once the monsters are defeated, a former captive
might join the group.
Characters might meet up with new party members in
any of the Underdark settlements they visit during the
adventure, particularly visitors or locals with a strong
reason to leave in a hurry.

Fungi of the Underdark

The Underdark is home to a tremendous variety of


fungi with a variety of different uses. Characters can
encounter different examples of the Underdarks flora
in their travels. Identifying a species of fungi and its
potential uses requires a successful DC 15 Intelligence
(Nature) check, but Underdark inhabitants are familiar
with many of these species automatically.

Edible Fungi
Edible fungi provide food and water. Basic food and
water requirements for characters are covered in
chapter 8, Adventuring, of the Players Handbook.

Barrelstalk

A barrelstalk is a large, cask-shaped fungus that can be


tapped and drained of the fresh water stored within it. A
single barrelstalk contains 1d4 + 4 gallons of water and
yields 1d6 + 4 pounds of food.

Bluecap

Dubbed the grain of the Underdark, a bluecap is


inedible, but its spores can be ground to make a
nutritious, bland flour. Bread made from bluecap flour
is known as sporebread or bluebread. One loaf is
equivalent to 1 pound of food.

Fire Lichen

Pale orange-white in color, fire lichen thrives on


warmth, so it grows in regions of geothermal heat. Fire
lichen can be ground and fermented into a hot, spicy
paste, which is spread on sporebread or added to soups
or stews to flavor them. Duergar also ferment fire lichen
into a fiercely hot liquor.

Ripplebark

Ripplebark is a shelf-like fungus that resembles a mass


of rotting flesh. It is surprisingly edible. Though it can
be eaten raw, it tastes better roasted. A single sheet of
ripplebark yields 1d4 + 6 pounds of food.

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27

Trillimac

A trillimac is a mushroom that grows to a height of


four to five feet, and has a broad gray-green cap and a
light gray stalk. The caps leathery surface can be cut
and cleaned for use in making maps, hats, and scrolls
(its surface takes on dyes and inks well). The stalk can
be cleaned, soaked in water for an hour, then dried to
make a palatable food akin to bread. Each trillimac stalk
provides 1d6 + 4 pounds of food.

Waterorb

A waterorb is a bulbous fungus that grows in shallow


water. A mature waterorb can be squeezed like a
sponge, yielding a gallon of drinkable water and a pound
of edible (if chewy and somewhat tasteless) food.

Zurkhwood

Zurkhwood is a massive mushroom that can reach a


height of thirty to forty feet. Its large grain-like spores
are edible and nutritionally equivalent to 1d4 + 4 pounds
of food, but zurkhwood is more important for its hard
and woody stalks. Zurkhwood is one of the few sources
of timber in the Underdark, used to make furniture,
containers, bridges, and rafts, among other things.
Skilled crafters can use stains, sanding, and polishing
to bring out different patterns in zurkhwood.

Exotic Fungi
The fungi species described in this section have strange
properties but no nutritional value.

Nightlight

A nightlight is a tall and tube-shaped bioluminescent


mushroom that grows to a height of 1d6 + 4 feet and
emits bright light in a 15-foot radius and dim light for
an additional 15 feet. A nightlight that is uprooted or
destroyed goes dark after 1 round. If a living nightlight
is touched, either by a creature or an object, its light
goes out until it is touched again.

Nilhoggs Nose

A Nilhoggs nose is a small mushroom that grants any


creature that eats it advantage on Wisdom (Perception)
checks based on smell for 1d4 hours. However, the
creature suffers disadvantage on saving throws against
effects based on smell for the same amount of time.

Ormu

A bioluminescent green moss that grows in warm


and damp areas, ormu is particularly common near
steam tunnels and vents. It sheds dim light in a 5-foot
radius, and can be harvested, dried, and made into a
phosphorescent powder or pigment.

Timmask

Also known as the devils mushroom, a timmask is


a two-foot-tall toadstool with orange and red stripes
across its beige cap. Uprooting or destroying a timmask
causes it to expel a 15-foot-radius cloud of poisonous
spores. Creatures in the area must succeed at a DC
14 Constitution saving throw or be poisoned. While
poisoned in this way, the creature is under the effect of

a confusion spell with a duration of 1 minute. When the


spell effect ends, the poisoned condition also ends.

Tongue of Madness

Tongue of madness is an edible fungus that looks


somewhat like a large human tongue. A creature that
eats a tongue of madness must succeed on a DC 12
Constitution saving throw or compulsively speak aloud
its every thought for the next hour. The effect can be
ended with a lesser restoration spell or similar magic.

Torchstalk

A one- to two-foot-tall mushroom with a combustible


cap, a single torchstalk burns for 24 hours once lit.
There is a 1-in-6 chance that a torchstalk explodes
when lit, bursting into a cloud of fiery spores. Creatures
within 10 feet of an exploding torchstalk take 3 (1d6)
fire damage.

Narrating the Journey

As the adventurers make their way through the


Underdark, it helps to improvise descriptions of what
they experience to add flavor to the journey. As you do,
try to stress two key points.
First, the trek is long and arduous. The party is
traveling underground, over incredibly difficult and
rough terrain, without any of the comforts of the surface
world. Food and water are scarce. The darkness
never ends. The players should feel as though their
characters are in peril throughout their travels, never
knowing when something is set to leap at them from
the shadows.
Second, the Underdark is an exotic, alien landscape
unlike anything found on the surface world.
Throughout its twisted passageways and impossibly
large caverns, characters might find bizarre reminders
of lost and forgotten civilizations, unearthly flora and
fauna, and incredible geography. Little is as it seems,
and much is difficult to explain, or even to describe.

Drow Pursuit

A party of drow from Velkynvelve pursue their escaped


prisoners into the Underdark. The drow priestess Ilvara
becomes increasingly obsessed with the adventurers,
believing they are involved in some secret conspiracy,
or perhaps some test of her worthiness. The longer
the pursuit, the more determined she is to retake them
and have the opportunity to teach them the error of
defying her.
The drow party consists of Ilvara (drow priestess of
Lolth), the drow elite warriors Jorlan and Shoor, and
the junior priestess Asha Vandree (use the priest stat
block in the Monster Manual, but add the Fey Ancestry,
Innate Spellcasting, and Sunlight Sensitivity features
of the drow stat block). The hunting party also includes
four drow warriors who serve as forward scouts.
If any of the drow NPCs did not survive chapter 1,
replace them with newly arrived reinforcements from
Menzoberranzan under the command of Ilvara, or
another priestess of her caliber.

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28

Tracking the Party


The drow must track the party through the Underdark
on foot, as there are no mounts available at Velkynvelve
and Ilvara doesnt wait for an already-late relief
detachment from Menzoberranzan to arrive. This limits
how quickly the dark elves can move to catch up, since
they must seek out signs of their quarrys passage,
occasionally doubling back to pick up their trail again.

Pursuit Level
The closeness of the drow pursuit is measured by a
pursuit level. It begins at 4, with the drow not far behind
the characters. If the pursuit level reaches 5, the drow
forward scouts catch up to them, and the drow leaders
arrive not long thereafter (see Catching Up). If the
pursuit level drops to 0, the party has eluded the drow
until circumstances bring both factions into contact
again (see Eluding Pursuit).
Characters can increase or decrease the pursuit level
in the following ways:
Decrease the pursuit level by 1 for each day the party
travels at a fast pace.
Decrease the pursuit level by 1 if a character spends
time covering up the partys trail that day, requiring a
successful DC 16 Wisdom (Survival) check.
Decrease the pursuit level by 1 each time the characters cross or traverse some feature that obscures their
trail, such as a subterranean river.
Decrease the pursuit level by 1 if the party splits into
two or more groups. Each group becomes a separate
party for purposes of determining random encounters
and whether or not the group becomes lost.
Increase the pursuit level by 1 each time the party
has a random encounter with one or more creatures,
unless the encounter is bypassed or avoided entirely.
Increase the pursuit level by 1 for each day the adventurers travel at a slow pace.
Certain terrain encounters increase or decrease the
pursuit level. See the individual descriptions in the
Random Encounters section.
The players might come up with additional ways
of evading pursuit. Adjudicate these as you see fit.
For example, if the characters convince a randomly

Narrow Escapes
If an encounter with the drow is going badly and you dont
want the characters recaptured, you can always have fate
intercede on their behalf with another encounter or event
offering a distraction.
For example, a wandering stone giant, a purple worm,
or a pack of savage gnolls whipped into a frenzy by the
demon lord Yeenoghu (part of the full adventure of
Out of the Abyss) might show up just as the drow have
the characters cornered, giving them a chance to run.
Likewise, a minor earthquake (caused by instability from
the demonic incursion or a wild magic surge) might cause
a cave-in, cutting off a tunnel between the party and their
pursuers, and dropping the pursuit level by 1 or 2.
Dont do this so often that the players feel they havent
earned it, but use it as an option to keep the pursuit going
rather than coming to an anticlimactic conclusion.

encountered creature to let them pass by telling them


about the wealthy drow following them, you might
reduce the pursuit level by 1 as the drow are forced to
deal with the encounter before they can resume tracking
the party. Similarly, the adventurers could lay traps
to slow down their pursuers, or they might convince a
friendly creature to lie to the drow about which way the
party went.
If you choose to skip over a few days of travel (as
described under Summarizing Travel later in this
chapter), the pursuit level doesnt change during
that time.

Catching Up

When the pursuit level reaches 5, the drow forward


scouts spot the party. At this point, the pursuit might
become an encounter if the characters spot the drow
and engage them. The characters might try to run, at
which point a chase ensues (see Chases in chapter
8 of the Dungeon Masters Guide), or they might stand
and fight. They might even try to set up some sort of
ambush, since the front ranks of the party are likely out
of sight of the drow when they first catch up.
If the adventurers flee and successfully escape, they
lower the pursuit level to 4 and begin avoiding their
pursuers again. If they fight the drow, run the encounter.
The drow scouts focus on maintaining close pursuit and
peppering the characters with poisoned hand crossbow
bolts. After 1d6 + 4 rounds, the remainder of the drow
party (Ilvara, Asha, Jorlan, and Shoor) catches up and
joins the encounter.

Eluding Pursuit

If the adventurers lower the pursuit level to 0, the


drow lose the trail unless circumstances allow them
to locate the characters again. This might include the
characters spending a day or more in a place where they
are recognized, or where they talk openly about their
escape from Velkynvelve. If the characters pass through
an area watched over by drow scouts or spies, Ilvara will
inevitably hear word of the characters location. When
this occurs, increase the pursuit level to 1 and begin
tracking it again as the drow pick up the trail once more.

Capture
The drow try to capture the escaped prisoners if at all
possible, since Ilvara wants the pleasure of teaching
them a lesson about disobedience. If the dark elves
reduce any characters to 0 hit points, those characters
are knocked out rather than dying (see Knocking a
Creature Out in chapter 9 of the Players Handbook).
Even if one or more of the characters are accidentally
killed, Ilvara is obsessed enough to cast raise dead to
restore them to life (assuming the characters soul is
willing to return).
Captured characters are disarmed, their hands bound
with spider-silk rope, and gagged. The drow march
them back to Velkynvelve (unless Menzoberranzan is
closer and you are playing the full adventure of Out
of the Abyss), in which case Ilvara takes them there
instead. The characters will need to come up with a new
plan of escape, ideally before Ilvara has the opportunity

Chapter 2: Into Darkness


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29

to torture them or sell them into slavery in the City of


Spiders. If they escape her clutches again, the drow
priestess continues her pursuit until she is dead or the
party leaves the Underdark (either at the end of this
adventure, or later if you are playing the full adventure
of Out of the Abyss).

Random Encounters

Each day of travel through the Underdark, check twice


to see if the characters encounter anything unusual:
once while they are traveling, and again while they are
camped or resting. Roll a d20 and consult the Random
Encounters table to determine what, if anything, they
encounter. Characters might encounter special terrain,
one or more creatures, or a combination of the two.
Any random encounter that occurs while the party is
camped is automatically a creature encounter, in which
case determine the encounter by rolling a d20 and
consulting the Creature Encounter table.

Random Encounters
d20
113
1415
1617
1820

Encounter
No encounter
Terrain (roll once on the Terrain Encounters table)
One or more creatures (roll once on the Creature
Encounters table)
Terrain encounter featuring one or more creatures
(roll once on the Terrain Encounters table, then roll
once on the Creature Encounter table)

Terrain Encounters
The Underdark contains dangerous hazards and
wondrous terrain. Special terrain rules are explained
after the table.

Terrain Encounters
d20
1
2
3
4
5
6
7
8
9
10
11
12
13
14
15
16
17
18
19
20

Encounter
Boneyard
Cliff and ladder
Crystal clusters
Fungus cavern
Gas leak
Gorge
High ledge
Horrid sounds
Lava swell
Muck pit
Rockfall
Rope bridge
Ruins
Shelter
Sinkhole
Slime or mold
Steam vent
Underground stream
Warning sign
Webs

Boneyard

The characters come upon an eerie cavern littered with


countless bones of various creatures. Whether the site
is a natural graveyard for some Underdark species or
the former lair of a fearsome predator, the characters
can potentially gather useful material for crafting among
the bones.
When the party enters a boneyard, roll a d20 and
consult the table to determine what creatures, if any, are
present. The undead rise up out of the bones and attack
when the first characters are halfway across the cavern.

Boneyard Encounter
d20
114
1518
1920

Encounter
No encounter
3d4 skeletons
1d3 minotaur skeletons

Cliff and Ladder

A cliff 2d4 10 feet high blocks the partys passage, but


a rolled-up rope ladder is visible at the top. If someone
can climb the cliffrequiring a successful DC 15
Strength (Athletics) checkand toss down the ladder,
the characters can proceed. Otherwise, they lose a days
travel finding another route. If the characters remove
the ladder once they are at the top, they decrease the
drow pursuit level by 1.

Crystal Clusters

The adventurers pass through a faerzress-suffused


area containing fist-sized chunks of quartz that shed
dim light in a 10-foot radius. A sharp blow to one of
the crystals, including throwing it so it impacts a hard
surface, causes it to burst in a 10-foot-radius flash of
blinding light. Any creature within the radius must
succeed on a DC 10 Constitution saving throw or be

Chapter 2: Into Darkness


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30

blinded for 1 minute. A creature blinded by this effect


repeats the Constitution saving throw at the end of each
of its turns. On a successful save, it is no longer blinded.
The characters can harvest up to twelve of the crystals
in total, but taking the time to do so increases the drow
pursuit level by 1.

Fungus Cavern

The adventurers stumble upon a cavern filled with fungi


and mushrooms of all sizes and types. See Fungi of the
Underdark and choose some interesting examples.

Gas Leak

The adventurers come upon a cavern with a dangerous


natural gas leak. Any member of the party with a
passive Wisdom (Perception) score of 14 or higher
detects signs of the gas. The characters travel pace
for the day is slowed by half as they circumvent
the area, but there are no ill effects. If the gas goes
undetected, each character in the area must make a DC
12 Constitution saving throw, taking 5 (1d10) poison
damage on a failed save, or half as much damage on a
successful one. Any open flames brought into the area
cause the gas to explode. Each creature in the explosion
must make a DC 15 Dexterity saving throw, taking
10 (3d6) fire damage on a failed save, or half as much
damage on a successful one.

Gorge

throws while within it, but their travel pace for the day is
slowed by half if they go around it.

Rockfall

As the adventurers make their way through a long,


twisting cavern, a tremor sets off a rockfall. Each
party member must attempt three DC 12 Dexterity
saving throws, taking 10 (3d6) bludgeoning damage
on each failed save. Any incapacitated creature not
moved out of the area is buried under rubble, taking an
additional 1d6 bludgeoning damage at the end of each of
its turns until the creature is dug out or dead. Decrease
the drow pursuit level by 1.

Rope Bridge

A ravine 2d4 10 feet wide and 2d4 10 feet deep cuts


across the partys path, spanned by an old rope bridge.
If the characters cut the bridge after they pass, the drow
pursuit level decreases by 1.

Ruins

The adventurers come across a small ruin hidden


in the Underdark. This might be the creation of a
subterranean race or a surface ruin that collapsed and
sank long ago. If the characters search the ruins, there
is a 50 percent chance of them finding 1d4 trinkets (see
chapter 5, Equipment, of the Players Handbook). Roll
on the Trinkets table or choose appropriate ones.

The characters must make a difficult climb down a


gorge 2d4 100 feet deep and up the other side, or find
a way around it. Their travel pace for the day is slowed
by half unless they come up with a plan to cross the
gorge quickly.

Shelter

High Ledge

Sinkhole

The characters must walk along an 18-inch-wide ledge


that skirts a ravine 2d6 10 feet deep. The partys
travel pace for the day is slowed by half, and each
character must succeed on a DC 10 Dexterity saving
throw to avoid a fall. Precautions such as roping
everyone together let each character make the save with
advantage. Increase the pursuit level of the drow by 1.

Horrid Sounds

For hours, the partys travel is plagued by terrible


shrieks, moans, and incoherent gibbering echoing
through nearby passages, without any apparent origin.
Each character must make a successful DC 11 Wisdom
saving throw. On a failed save, the characters madness
level increases by 1.

Lava Swell

As the party traverses a long and winding corridor, a


tremor opens up a lava-filled fissure behind them. Each
character must make a DC 10 Dexterity saving throw
to avoid the lava swell, taking 21 (6d6) fire damage on a
failed save. Decrease the drow pursuit level by 1.

Muck Pit

The adventurers must wade through a broad, 3-footdeep pit of slimy muck. The muck is difficult terrain
and characters have disadvantage on Dexterity saving

The party stumbles upon a cave that is sheltered and


easily defended. If the characters camp here, they can
finish a long rest without any chance of an encounter
while they are resting.
One random party member steps on and collapses a
sinkhole, and must succeed on a DC 12 Dexterity saving
throw to avoid falling into a 20-foot-deep pit and taking
7 (2d6) bludgeoning damage. Climbing out of the pit
requires a successful DC 15 Strength (Athletics) check.

Slime or Mold

As the adventurers pass through a small cavern, they


encounter a patch of slime or mold. Roll a d6 and
consult the table to determine what type of slime or
mold is present (see Dungeon Hazards in chapter
5 of the Dungeon Masters Guide for details on
these threats).

Slime or Mold Encounter


d6
13
45
6

Encounter
Patch of green slime
Patch of yellow mold
Patch of brown mold

Steam Vent

A hot steam vent erupts beneath a random party


member, who must succeed on a DC 12 Dexterity saving
throw or take 7 (2d6) fire damage.

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31

Underground Stream

A waterway 2d4 5 feet wide cuts across the partys


path. The stream is shallow and easily crossed, and the
characters can drink and refresh their water supplies.
Edible fish inhabit the stream, so that the DC of any
foraging attempts for food in this area is reduced to 10.
Crossing the stream reduces the drow pursuit level by 1.

Warning Sign

The characters enter a cavern dotted with stalagmites


and stalactites. Those with a passive Wisdom
(Perception) score of 11 or higher spot the following
sigil carved into one of the stalagmites:

Creature Encounters
d20
12
3
45
67
89
1011
12
13
1415
16
17
18
1920

Encounter
Ambushers; reroll this encounter if the
characters are resting
Carrion crawler
Escaped slaves
Fungi
Giant fire beetles
Giant rocktopus
Mad creature
Ochre jelly
Raiders
Scouts
Society of Brilliance
Spore servants
Traders

Ambushers

The sigil is a drow warning sign that means Demons


ahead! Any non-drow creature that touches the
symbol must make a DC 10 Wisdom saving throw.
On a failed save, the creatures madness level
increases by 1.
If the characters take a long rest within one mile of
the warning sign, roll a d20 and consult the table to
determine what, if anything, they encounter at the end of
their rest.

Warning Sign Encounter


d20
114
1516
1718
1920

Encounter
No encounter
1 invisible barlgura
3d4 dretches
1d2 shadow demons

One or more creatures attempt to ambush the party


as it makes its way through the Underdark. Roll a d20
and consult the table to determine what the characters
encounter.

Ambushers
d20
12
3
45
69
1015
1617
1820

Encounter
1 chuul lurking in a pool of water
1d6 giant spiders clinging to the walls or ceiling
1 grell floating near the high ceiling
1d4 gricks hiding in a crevice or fissure
1d4 orogs perching on ledges
1d6 piercers masquerading as stalactites
1 umber hulk bursting out of a nearby wall

If the ambush occurs in the monsters lair, there is


a chance that characters searching the area find
something of interest or value. Roll a d20 and consult
the table below to see what, if anything, they find.

Ambusher Lair Discoveries

Webs

Sticky webs fills a passage (see Dungeon Hazards in


chapter 5 of the Dungeon Masters Guide). The webs
extend for hundreds of feet. Unless the characters
come up with a plan for clearing the webs quickly,
the partys travel pace for the day is halved as the
characters are forced to cut their way through or find an
alternate route.
Check for an encounter when the party enters the
webs. On a roll of 12 on a d6, the characters encounter
1d4 giant spiders lurking among the webs.

Creature Encounters
Keep the partys level in mind when fleshing out these
encounters, and allow the characters to retreat from or
avoid an encounter that is too great a challenge. Escape
should come at a cost, however. Characters fleeing their
camp to avoid a creature encounter might be forced to
abandon food and water supplies, for example.

d20
110
1112
1314
1517
1819

20

Discovery
None
A humanoid skeleton or corpse clutching a
salvageable, nonmagical weapon (your choice)
A humanoid skeleton or corpse wearing a
salvageable suit of nonmagical armor (your choice)
1d6 50 gp gems
A humanoid skeleton or corpse carrying a random
magic item (roll once on Magic Item Table B in
chapter 7 of the Dungeon Masters Guide)
A monster hoard containing 2d6 50 gp gems and
one or more random magic items (roll 1d4 times
on Magic Item Table C in chapter 7 of the Dungeon
Masters Guide)

Carrion Crawler

The characters encounter a carrion crawler scouring


tunnels and caves for food.

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32

There is a 25 percent chance that the crawler is


domesticated and outfitted with a leather saddle and
harness, though theres no sign of the rider. A character
can approach and mount the carrion crawler without
being attacked by succeeding on a DC 13 Wisdom
(Animal Handling) check. While in the saddle and
harness, a rider can remain mounted on the carrion
crawler as it crawls across walls and ceilings.

Escaped Slaves

These slaves have been wandering the Underdark since


their escape from Gracklstugh or Menzoberranzan.
They are scrounging for food and water. Roll a d4 and
consult the table to determine what the characters
encounter. Elf, dwarf, and human slaves are friendly; if
given food and water theyll join the party. Goblin slaves
are hostile and likely to attack.

Escaped Slaves
d4
1
2
3
4

Encounter
1d2 moon elf commoners
1d3 shield dwarf commoners
1d4 human commoners
1d6 goblins

Roll a d6 and consult the table to determine what kinds


of fungi the characters encounter.

Fungi
Encounter
1d4 gas spores
1d4 shriekers
1d4 violet fungi

Theres a 25 percent chance that a gas spore carries a


memory fragment from a dead beholder in its spores
(see the gas spores description in the Fungi entry
of Monster Manual). This memory can be of anything
you wish, or you can roll a d4 and consult the Beholder
Memories table.

Beholder Memories
d4
1

2
3
4

Giant Rocktopus

This creature is a giant octopus that has evolved to live


and thrive on land. It can alter its coloration to appear
as a rock formation, and it tends to lurk in crevices
and fissures, attacking smaller creatures that wander
near. It has a walking speed of 20 feet and a climbing
speed of 10 feet, loses its Hold Breath feature, and
replaces its Underwater Camouflage feature with the
following feature:
Camouflage. The octopus has advantage on Dexterity
(Stealth) checks.

Mad Creature

The party encounters a creature driven insane by the


influence of the demon lords. Roll a d4 and consult
the table to determine what appears. Then roll on the
Indefinite Madness table in chapter 8 of the Dungeon
Masters Guide to determine the nature of the creatures
madness. If cured of its madness, the creature behaves
in accordance with its alignment.

Mad Creature

Fungi

d6
12
34
56

need of light sources can harvest the glowing glands of


slain beetles.

Memory
A tense negotiation with drow, ending with the
beholder agreeing to allow the drow safe passage
through the Vast Oblivium in exchange for help
ridding its lair of a deep gnome infestation
Chasing svirfneblin thieves through the tunnels of
its domain to recover stolen gemstones
A fierce battle against a wizened drow archmage,
ending with the beholder suffering a grievous injury
Spying on a drow ranger with two gleaming
scimitars and a black, quadrupedal
animal companion

Giant Fire Beetles

d4
1
2
3
4

Encounter
1 deep gnome
1 drow
1 duergar
1 stone giant

There is a chance that the mad creature has something


of interest or value in its possession. Roll a d20 and
consult the table below to see what, if anything, it has.
The creature doesnt part with the item willingly.

Mad Creature Possessions


d20
110
1113
1415
1617
1819
20

Possession
None
A 10 gp gem
A gold ring worth 25 gp
An obsidian statuette of Lolth worth 100 gp
A random magic item (roll once on Magic Item
Table A in chapter 7 of the Dungeon Masters Guide)
A random magic item (roll once on Magic Item
Table B in chapter 7 of the Dungeon Masters Guide)

Ochre Jelly

As the characters move through a series of caves, they


attract the attention of a ochre jelly. The ooze follows
the characters, attacking when they stop to take their
next rest. Characters in the back rank of the marching
order who have a passive Wisdom (Perception) score of
14 or higher spot the ooze following them.

Raiders

The characters encounter 3d6 giant fire beetles


scouring tunnels and caves for food. Characters in

This group of raiders from the surface ventured into


the Underdark looking for riches and got lost. Roll a d6
and consult the table to determine what appears. The

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33

Blurg
Skriss

Sloopidoop

Grazilaxx

raiders are initially hostile toward the party, though


clever characters might try bribing them for safe
passage or information.

Raiders
d6
12
34
56

Encounter
1d6 human bandits and 1 human bandit captain
2d4 goblins and 1 goblin boss
1d6 orcs and 1 orc Eye of Gruumsh

There is a chance that the leader of the group has


something of interest or value. Roll a d20 and consult
the table below to see what, if anything, the leader of the
raiders has in its possession.

Raider Leader Possessions


d20
15
610
1114
1517
1819
20

Possession
None
2d6 10 gp gemstones in a pouch
2d6 50 gp gemstones in a pouch
1d4 torchstalks (see Fungi of the Underdark)
1d4 waterorbs (see Fungi of the Underdark)
A random magic item (roll on Magic Item Table B in
chapter 7 of the Dungeon Masters Guide)

Scouts

Each of these groups is in the Underdark on a secret


mission. Roll a d6 and consult the table to determine
what appears.

Scouts
d6
12
34
56

Encounter
1 drow
1d4 myconid adults
1d6 shield dwarf scouts

The drow scout is searching for escaped slaves. If he


spots the party, hell attempt to avoid notice and take
away information regarding the groups location (see
Drow Pursuit).
The myconid scouts are indifferent toward the party
and unwilling to discuss their mission or their travels
with the adventurers.
Shield dwarf scouts are friendly if the party includes
one or more surface dwellers. They are willing to give
the party a day or twos worth of food and water rations.

Society of Brilliance

The characters stumble upon a member of the Society


of Brilliance, a sect of highly intelligent monsters that
have banded together to solve all of the Underdarks
problems. The society is investigating areas suffused
with faerzress to ascertain whether it has something to
do with what the society fears is some kind of demonic
incursion. Roll a d10 to determine which society
member the characters encounter.

Society of Brilliance
d10
12
34
56
78
910

Encounter
Y the derro savant (see appendix C)
Blurg the orog
Grazilaxx the mind flayer
Skriss the troglodyte
Sloopidoop the kuo-toa archpriest

Every member of the Society of Brilliance has an


alignment of neutral, an Intelligence of 18 (+4), and
fluency in multiple languages including Dwarvish,
Elvish, and Undercommon (although Grazilaxx
prefers to communicate using telepathy). Its statistics
are unchanged otherwise. Members are erudite and
talkative, preferring diplomacy and debate over violence
(though they defend themselves if attacked).

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34

Each society member can cast the teleport spell once


per day, but the intended destination must be within 30
feet of another society member. This teleport effect can
be disrupted (see Faerzress earlier in the chapter),
which is how society members sometimes end up in far
corners of the Underdark, separated from their fellows.
Members of the Society of Brilliance are aware that
paths to the surface world exist but havent explored
any of them (their concerns are with the Underdark,
after all). If the characters seem intent on reaching the
surface, a society member might suggest they look for
a guide in one of the Underdarks larger settlements,
such as Blingdenstone or Gracklstugh. The society
member can provide detailed verbal directions that
characters can follow to reach whichever Underdark
settlement they desire. However, the society member
cant guarantee that the route is safe. If characters
are searching for something else, the society member
provides whatever assistance it can.

Spore Servants

One or more creatures killed and reanimated by


Zuggtmoys spores observe the characters as they pass
by. The spore servants dont communicate and dont
attack except in self-defense. Roll a d10 and consult the
table to determine what the characters encounter.

Spore Servants
d10
13
46
78
910

Encounter
1d4 drow spore servants (see appendix C)
1d6 duergar spore servants (see appendix C)
1d4 hook horror spore servants (see appendix C)
1d8 quaggoth spore servants

Traders

These traders ply the tunnels of the Underdark,


traveling from settlement to settlement. Roll a d4 and
consult the table to determine what appears.

Traders
d4
1
2
3
4

Summarizing Travel

Instead of checking for random encounters every day,


you can skip over or summarize parts of the characters
journey. Roll 1d6 + 1 for the number of days between
encounters, with the usual chance of the encounter
being a terrain encounter, a creature encounter, or
both (as described under Random Encounters). For
example, if roll a result of 4, you would tell the players:
Youve been making your way through the tunnels
and passages for four days before describing the
circumstances of the encounter to them.
With this approach, encourage players to describe
what their characters door even see and experience
during the intervening time. In addition to downtime
activities such as crafting, characters have plenty of
opportunities for interaction. If the players are handling
the roles of some or all of their nonplayer character
companions (see A Motley Crew in chapter 1), ask
them to elaborate on the activities of those characters
as well, filling in details as you see fit. Players can
also suggest and spin out stories about things their
characters have experienced during the intervening
time, including arduous climbs, swinging across
gorges, or dodging piercers, and you can do the same.
This additional storytelling aspect adds color and
background to the journey while keeping the pace
relatively brisk.

Set Encounters

You can use the following four encounters during the


partys travels in the Underdark, inserting them as
desired. They provide more detailed challenges for the
characters, as well as giving them chances to encounter
some potential allies. If you plan on playing the full
version of Out of the Abyss, these encounters can be
saved for later chapters of that adventure, especially if
the characters need an XP boost as they work through
those chapters.

The Silken Paths

Encounter
2d4 deep gnomes
2d4 drow
2d4 duergar
2d4 kuo-toa

Deep gnome and drow traders have a 50 percent chance


of having half their number in giant lizards as mounts
and pack animals. Duergar traders have a 50 percent
chance of having half their number in male steeders
(see appendix C) as pack animals. If there are male
steeders present, there is a 50 percent chance that the
traders are escorted by a duergar kavalrachni astride a
female steeder (see appendix C for both).
The traders carry goods worth 5d4 10 gp plus ten
days of provisions per member of their party; they are
willing to sell up to 20 percent of either. If drow traders
see the adventurers and have the opportunity to report
it, increase the drow pursuit level by 1.

The Silken Paths are a network of spider webs


crisscrossing a 500-foot-deep, 2,000-foot-wide chasm
that stretches for nearly five miles. The major strands
of the webs are traversable but, due to the fact that
old webs disintegrate over time and the giant spiders
inhabiting the chasm are constantly spinning new ones,
the Silken Paths are ever-changing.
The chasm has numerous passages at varying heights
leading away from it. It is rare for a web strand to
connect one opening with another on the same level.
Characters navigating the Silken Paths need to follow
sloping strands as well as climb and cross over several
strands to reach their intended destination. This is quite
hazardous, but there simply isnt any easy way around
the chasm. The characters can easily get lost in the
mass of strands stretching across the chasm unless they
have help.

Chapter 2: Into Darkness


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35

The Web Runners

Yuk Yuk and


Spiderbait

The Web Runners are a pair of thrill-seeking goblins


named Yuk Yuk and Spiderbait. They have lived in the
Underdark for as long as either can remember, with
much of their time spent treasure hunting and surviving
in the Silken Paths. The goblins are prone to daring
(and often foolish) stunts. That either of them is still
alive is a testament to their luck and skill. Modify their
statistics as follows:
Both goblins are neutral.
Add Acrobatics +6 and Athletics +3 to the goblins
list of skills.
The goblins have advantage on checks made to avoid
being surprised.
The goblins notice the adventurers as they approach
the Silken Paths and are willing to act as guides and
helpersfor a fee, of course. Theyll settle for 2 gp per
day each, but Yuk Yuk (who does all the negotiating)
is just as likely to ask for something flashy belonging
to one of the characters. He might also ask for some
unspecified favor, to be paid when the goblins and the
adventurers get to wherever theyre going and part ways.
He might ask for first pick of any loot the party uncovers
in the Silken Paths, and will expect and ask for a share
of the treasure regardless.
Yuk Yuk and Spiderbait each carry a gourd of grease,
which they apply to their feet so that they can surf the
webs. While sliding down webs, they move at twice
their normal walking speed.
The Web Runners are as good as their word when
it comes to their services, and they can teach the

Silken Paths: General Features


As characters traverse the Silken Paths, keep in mind the
following features.
Difficult Terrain. Any creature with a climbing speed can
walk along the webs at that speed. For all other creatures,
the webs are difficult terrain. Any creature that falls can
potentially become entangled in the webs (see Falling).
Falling. Whenever a creature takes damage while
traversing the Silken Paths, or whenever the webs upon
which it is walking break, the creature must make a DC
15 Dexterity saving throw. On a successful save, the
creature manages to avoid a fall by grabbing nearby web
strands. On a failure, the creature falls 1d10 10 feet. If the
distance fallen is less than the distance to the chasm floor,
the creature becomes entangled in webs and restrained;
otherwise, it hits the floor and takes damage from the fall as
normal. A restrained creature can make a DC 12 Strength
saving throw at the end of each of its turns, freeing itself
and ending the restrained condition on a success. Another
creature can use its action to help a restrained creature
within its reach, granting advantage on that creatures next
saving throw to end the effect.
Light. The chasm is dark. Carrying a light source attracts
hostile creatures, increasing the chance of an encounter to
13 on a d6.
Fire. Webs burn away when exposed to any attack or
effect that deals fire damage. This causes several strands
to break, and all creatures within 30 feet of the affected
area must make a saving throw to avoid falling (see
Falling).

characters a thing or two. While they travel with the two


goblins, the characters have advantage on checks made
to avoid being surprised. The goblins know the Silken
Paths well enough not to become lost in them.
If the adventurers make a good impression on the
Web Runners and if the partys goals appear to offer
interesting opportunities to do new and dangerous
things, the goblins offer to stay on after crossing the
Silken Paths, and to help guide the characters through
the Underdark. The two wont leave the Underdark,
however. Yuk Yuk will try to negotiate a suitable fee, but
the goblins might simply tag along, content to earn any
fair share of whatever the party acquires.

Silken Path Encounters


For every 500 feet the party travels through the webs,
check for a random encounter by rolling a d6. An
encounter occurs on a roll of 1 unless one or more party
members are carrying light sources, in which case an
encounter occurs on a roll of 13. Roll on the Silken
Paths Encounters table or choose a suitable encounter
when one occurs.

Silken Paths Encounters


d12
1
2
3
48
9
10
1112

Encounter
Cocooned lightfoot halfling
1d4 darkmantles
1d4 drow and 1d4 quaggoth slaves
2d4 giant spiders
1 mimic
1 spectator
Web break

Cocooned Halfling

The characters find a still-living lightfoot halfling


cocooned in webbing. He is poisoned and paralyzed for
the next hour.
Fargas Rumblefoot was a member of an adventuring
band looking for a long-lost tomb when they were
attacked by a pack of mad gnolls. Fargas escaped,

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36

got lost in the Silken Paths, and was attacked by the


spiders. If rescued, he promises to show the characters
the way to the tomb in exchange for a share of its
treasures (see Lost Tomb of Khaem later in this
chapter). Fargas is a chaotic good halfling spy. In
addition to his armor and weapons, he carries a potion
of invisibility.

Darkmantles

These subterranean hunters swoop down and attack


the party.

Drow and Quaggoth Slaves

These hateful drow and their murderous quaggoth


slaves are navigating the Silken Paths on their way
through the Underdark. If Derendil is with the party,
he can use an action to make a DC 15 Charisma check,
turning the quaggoth slaves against their drow masters
on a success. If the drow are disposed of, Derendil can
repeat the check to turn the surviving quaggoths into
his followers. Should Derendil perish, these quaggoths
cant be controlled and fight to the death.
If any drow escape the encounter, increase the pursuit
level of the partys drow pursuers by 1.

Giant Spiders

Giant spiders are the most common inhabitants of the


Silken Paths, and they are drawn to vibrations in the
webs that indicate potential prey.

Hook Horror Lair: General Features


As characters explore the hook horror lair, keep in mind
the following features.
Light. The tunnels are completely dark, which doesnt
hinder either the gnolls or the hook horrors.
Tight Passages. Tunnels marked P on the map are
narrow enough that Large creatures such as the hook
horrors must squeeze through them, spending 1 extra foot
of movement for every foot of passage. Medium or smaller
creatures can move through such areas normally.

The adventurers wander into the area from a second


entrance to the caverns (area 1) and become embroiled
in the hunt. Whether they choose to avoid the hunting
party, aid the hook horrors, or negotiate their way out of
the situation is up to the players.

1. Hook Horrors
The characters hear clacking noises as they approach
this point in the passageway. Suddenly, two hook
horrors dash from the side passage, moving from area
2A toward area 3. The hook horrors attack only in selfdefense and are more afraid of the giggling, rampaging
gnolls than they are of the characters.
The gnolls are two chambers behind the hook horrors,
reaching this point on the following round, unless the
characters move toward them (in which case the two
groups converge in area 2A).

Mimic

2A. Gnoll Hunters

Spectator

Four gnolls move into this area the round after the hook
horrors move past the party, then follow their quarry
into area 1 on the following round.
The gnolls cant resist attacking any other creatures
that cross their path while shrieking Sacrifices for
Yeenoghu! in their own tongue. (Even if no one in
the party speaks Gnoll, the name of the demon lord is
clearly recognizable.)

This creature pretends to be an iron chest entangled in


the webs. When the characters draw close to examine it,
the mimic attacks.
Freed from its service to a long-dead drow wizard, this
mad aberration now floats through the web-filled chasm.
It communicates with the characters telepathically,
warning them about demons rising in the dark. The
creature becomes increasingly paranoid and convinced
that the characters are themselves demons, come to
bind it into servitude, at which point it attacks and tries
to destroy them.

Web Break

A strand of web under one randomly determined party


member snaps. Each creature walking on that web
strand must make a DC 15 Dexterity saving throw as
described under Falling in the Silken Paths: General
Features sidebar. Immediately check for another
encounter after the saving throws are resolved.

Hook Horror Hunt

The characters enter an area where a band of gnolls


lured to the Underdark by the demon lord Yeenoghu
(part of the full adventure of Out of the Abyss) are
hunting a mated pair of hook horrors. Having left guards
at the main entrance to the lair (area 5), the gnoll pack
lord has split its remaining hunters into two groups,
both of which are attempting to flush out the hook
horrors to win the right to tear them apart.

Development

Sounds of combat or calls from the gnolls might attract


their pack mates in areas 2B and 5.

2B. Gnoll Hunters


The rest of the gnoll hunters race through these caverns
in search of the hook horrors. Unless they are drawn
elsewhere, four gnolls and a gnoll pack lord are here.

Treasure

The gnoll pack lord carries two bloodstones worth 50 gp


each and a brown tourmaline worth 100 gp.

3. Cornered
The fleeing hook horrors make their way here, where
they wait in ambush for any creatures that follow them.
The passage is narrow enough that Medium creatures
must move single file through it. The cave appears to
be a dead end, and the hook horrors fight to the death
against any creatures that enter.
Characters who take the time to search the cave spot
a hole in the 10-foot-high ceiling (marked C on the map),

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37

which requires a successful DC 12 Strength (Athletics)


check to climb up into. It leads to area 4.

4. Hook Horror Nest


The sandy floor of this cavern holds a clutch of four
1-foot-diameter eggs with rocky outer shells, all halfburied in a shallow pit. These are hook horror eggs, and
any character that touches an egg can feel it trembling.
Each hour, there is a 10 percent chance that one of
the eggs hatches. The infant hook horror that emerges
imprints on the first creature it sees. It thereafter
follows that creature around like its parent, demanding
to be fed. If the characters manage to keep the hook
horror alive, it eventually reaches adulthood after
six months. Track its growth using the Hook Horror
Maturation table.

Hook Horror Maturation


Age
Size
Infant
Tiny
(up to 1 month)

Young
(13 months)

Small

Juvenile
(36 months)

Medium

Adult
(6+ months)

Large

5. Gnoll Camp
The gnolls have a small camp set up here to prevent the
hook horrors from fleeing in this direction.
Three gnolls guard the camp and attack any creatures
emerging from the tunnels that are not of their kind.

Notes
AC 10; 4 (1d4 + 2) hit points;
speed 10 ft., climb 10 ft.; Str
9 (1); no effective attacks;
Challenge 0 (0 XP)
AC 11; 11 (2d6 + 4) hit points;
speed 15 ft., climb 15 ft.; Str 12
(+1); hook attacks are +3 to hit,
have a reach of 5 ft., and deal 3
(1d4 + 1) piercing damage on a
hit; Challenge 1/4 (50 XP)
AC 13; 39 (6d8 + 12) hit points;
speed 20 ft., climb 20 ft.; Str 15
(+2); hook attacks are +4 to hit,
have a reach of 5 ft., and deal 5
(1d6 + 2) piercing damage on a
hit; Challenge 2 (450 XP)
See the Monster Manual

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38

The Oozing Temple

A tremor causes a cave-in and traps the adventurers


in a maze of tunnels with no obvious way out. With a
dwindling air supply and water rising in the tunnels,
the characters are forced to find a means of escape.
Complicating matters, part of the maze belongs to a
forgotten temple that now serves as the lair of servants
of the demon lord Juiblex (part of the full adventure of
Out of the Abyss).

1. Boxed In
As the characters make their way through a 10-foot-high
tubular passage, a tremor shakes the area and drops
part of the ceiling on them. Each party member must
succeed on a DC 13 Dexterity saving throw or take 5
(1d10) bludgeoning damage from falling debris.
Once the dust clears, the characters realize that fallen
rock has buried both ends of the passageway. However,
a new passage has opened in one of the walls, offering a
possible escape route. Its clear that the route the party
was following has been permanently blocked by tons of
rubble, and runs the risk of triggering another collapse
if the characters attempt to dig out.

2. Dripping Death
Whether finished stone or rough rock, the walls of these
10-foot-high areas glisten with dark, dripping water.
Each of these keyed areas holds a gray ooze that
pours through cracks in the ceiling to attack any
creatures that enter.

3. Glabbagool
This area contains the skeletal remains of a drow,
along with a dark metal mace and a scattering of coins.
However, the characters are quick to notice that these
items appear to hover above the stone floor.
All the visible items are trapped within the body of a
gelatinous cube named Glabbagoolor at least, thats
what it has chosen to call itself. Unlike most gelatinous
cubes, this monster has an Intelligence of 10 (+0) and
telepathy out to a range of 60 feet (see the Monster
Manual introduction for telepathy rules).
The presence in the Underdark of the demon lord
Juiblex (part of the full adventure of Out of the Abyss)
has granted Glabbagool sentience and awareness.
The ooze is genuinely curious about other creatures
and wants to learn more about the world. It defends
itself if attacked, but doesnt otherwise try to harm the
characters, instead asking who they are, where they
come from, and why they have come to the temple.
Other oozes wont attack Glabbagool, so it can block
a passageway to help the adventurers fend them off.
However, the cube cant safely move past characters
in a passageway. Glabbagool might ask to accompany
the adventurers if it likes or is intrigued by them.
Unfortunately, the oozes speed of 15 feet means
that characters accompanied by it can travel only at
a slow place (see Travel Pace at the beginning of
this chapter).

Glabbagool

The Oozing Temple: General Features


As characters explore the Oozing Temple, keep in mind the
following features.
Light. Except where specified otherwise, the tunnels and
chambers are dark.
Air. The air is stale and perceptibly thin. The temple
contains enough air for the oozes, plus 160 hours of
breathable air for one creature, divided by the number of
creatures present. For example, a party of four adventurers
has 40 hours of air. Characters who are at rest and not
undertaking activities such as moving or fighting consume
half as much air.
Once half of the breathable air is consumed, the
characters suffer one level of exhaustion (see appendix A
of the Players Handbook). For each additional 10 percent
of the air used up, the characters suffer one additional
level of exhaustion. At 90 percent, the characters are
unable to move. When the air is used up, they die. Once
the first level of exhaustion sets in, the characters become
aware that they are running out of air, and know roughly
how much they have left.
A lit torch or its equivalent uses up air as a character
does. Briefer but hotter magical effects consume 1 hour of
air per die of fire damage per round. For example, a fireball
spell that deals 8d6 fire damage consumes 8 hours of air,
while a fire bolt that deals 1d10 fire damage consumes 1
hour of air per use.
Water. In addition to running low on air, the characters
become aware that the tunnels and chambers are filling
with water flowing in from area 6. The water rises at a
rate of 1 foot per hour, meaning most of the tunnels and
chambers will be completely flooded within 10 hours.
Areas filled with waist-deep water are difficult terrain for
the characters. Once the water is over their heads, they
have to swim.

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39

Treasure

Glabbagools body contains a mace along with 14 ep and


the mostly digested body of a drow. It will disgorge the
items for the characters if they win its trust.
The mace is a common magic item. While attuned
the weapon, its wielder can use an action to make the
head of the mace alight with green flame, or use an
action to extinguish the flame. While the mace is lit,
it glows as brightly as a torch and deals an extra 1 fire
damage on a hit.

4. Pudding Pits
This chamber is divided into four hallways and floored
with heavy flagstones, the walls carved with worn
and faded bas-reliefs. These show strange, swirling
shapes that might be waves, tentacles, or some
combination thereof.

Trap

The squares marked on the map have been undermined,


leaving a 10-foot-deep pit beneath each one. A
successful DC 15 Wisdom (Perception) check enables a
character to notice that the stone is weakened.
More than 50 pounds of weight on an undermined
area causes it to collapse. A creature standing in the

area must succeed on a DC 11 Dexterity saving throw


to grab the edge of the pit, after which the creature
must succeed on a DC 11 Strength (Athletics) check
to scramble out. On a failed saving throw or a failed
check, the creature falls into the pit and takes 1d6
bludgeoning damage.
At the bottom of each pit is a black pudding, which
attacks any creature that falls in. If denied a victim, or if
it devours a fallen creature quickly, the pudding climbs
up the sides to attack any dangling creatures, or to move
into the hallway in search of prey.

5. Fountain of Madness
This room contains a stone fountain with a raised edge.
The basin contains shallow, brackish water. At the
center of the pool, the rubble of a broken statue rest atop
a pedestal. All that remains recognizable are a pair of
clawed stone feet clutching the pedestals top. Carved
into the walls are seven niches. Water seeps into one
niche through a crack in the wall. The two niches that
flank it are empty. Strange, formless sculptures occupy
the four remaining niches.
The sculptures are actually four gray oozes held in
magical stasis. They liquefy and attack when any one of
them is touched or damaged.

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40

Treasure

Hidden beneath the dark waters of the fountain are 112


sp, 41 gp, three green-gold bracelets worth 25 gp each, a
drow +1 dagger (the hilt has a spider design), a potion of
greater healing, and a vial containing oil of slipperiness.

6. Water Chamber
Characters approaching this rough-walled cave hear
the sound of pouring water. The water enters through
cracks in the 10-foot-high ceiling. Given the rate at
which the water flows in, the characters can easily
conclude that the cracks were caused by the tremor they
experienced, and its only a matter of time before the
water floods the entire complex.
The water rises at a rate of 1 foot per hour until the
tunnels are completely flooded. However, chipping
away at any of the cracks causes more of the ceiling to
collapse, doubling the amount of water pouring into the
complex but also revealing a diverted underground river
that is the source of the water. Once the water level rises
to the ceiling, the flow is slowed and the characters can
swim upward for 30 feet to reach the waters surface.
They find themselves in a larger cavern from which they
can resume their journey.

Development

If Glabbagool is with the party, the intelligent gelatinous


cube floats upward as the water rises and squeezes
through a crack in the ceiling to escape the flooded
temple and remain with the characters.

Lost Tomb of Khaem

In ages past, at the height of Faerns great empires


of magic, the half-elf sorcerer Brysis of Khaem was
interred in a floating tomb. After the fall of the empire of
Netheril and its flying cities, Brysiss tomb plummeted
into a crevasse and wound up in the Underdark, where
it has remained for centuries. The rise of the demon
lords has awakened Brysis from the eternal sleep of
death as a wraith, served by specters who were once
her loyal retainers. Brysis yearns to accumulate enough
life force to leave the confines of her tomb, to which her
spirit is bound.
The adventurers might discover the tomb by accident
or with the aid of Fargas Rumblefoot, the halfling from
the Silken Paths encounter. Either way, when theyre
nearby, read the following to the players:
A soft feminine voice sounds out in your mind suddenly,
faint and distant.
Hello? Is someone there ? Oh please, I need your
help! I have been trapped in the dark for so long so
very long. Please, wont you help to free me?

The characters receive an impression of the direction


to the entrance of the tomb, but the mysterious voice
doesnt respond to any queries. As they follow the voice,
a narrow side passage takes them to a dirty marble wall
with a deep-set door made of bronze-encased stone,

Lost Tomb of Khaem: General Features


As characters explore the Lost Tomb of Khaem, keep in
mind the following features.
Ceilings. Room ceilings are 15 feet high. The hallways
connecting them are 10 feet high.
Doors. Each door in the tomb is a 10-foot-by-10-foot
slab of solid marble encased in a thin layer of beaten
bronze. The bronze has turned green with age. The door
pivots on a central axis, creating narrow openings on
either side while open. The door is also heavy and tightfitting, requiring a DC 15 Strength (Athletics) check to
open or close.
Light. Except as otherwise noted, the interior of the
tomb is dark.
Chaotic Magic. The tomb was crafted during an age of
high magic, and it has become suffused with faerzress. The
ancient and chaotic energy now permeating the structure
causes any spell cast within the tomb to trigger a roll on
the Wild Magic Surge table in chapter 3, Classes, of the
Players Handbook.

green with age (see the Lost Tomb of Khaem: General


Features sidebar).

1. Entrance Room
A stone diorama stands to the right of the entrance,
depicting the sorcerer Brysis Khaem as a Netherese
noble in her prime, surrounded by attendants, slaves,
and other trappings of wealth and power. A vista of
fantastic floating cities covers the wall to the left of
the entrance.

Staircase and Landing

Across from the entrance, empty stone torch sconces


flank a dusty staircase descending 20 feet to a landing.
Set into the back wall of the landing is a Netherese
calendar stone. Beyond this landing, the staircase
resumes its descent, stopping at three more landings
of bare stone and descending a total of 100 feet before
arriving at area 2.

2. Shrine
The stairs lead down to this shrine, where shreds of
dusty tapestries lie scattered across the floor. Friezes on
the walls are defaced with deep gouges, making them
unrecognizable. An altar of pale gray marble stands
gouged and cracked against one wall.
A successful DC 13 Intelligence (Investigation) check
reveals that the damage to this room is relatively recent,
and that the creatures that caused it left no tracks of any
kind in the layer of dust on the floor.

3. Servants Sarcophagi
Four stone sarcophagi mark the resting places
of Brysiss most faithful servants. The lid of each
sarcophagus bears the sculpted image of a robed
human figure in repose. Brysiss four servants have
arisen at her command as specters. If anyone touches
or otherwise disturbs a sarcophagus, all four specters
emerge from their sarcophagi, howling in fury, and

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41

attack. The specters can pursue their prey beyond the


confines of the tomb, if necessary.
Opening a sarcophagus lid requires a successful DC
17 Strength check and reveals treasure within (see
Treasure).
A character inspecting the northeast sarcophagus
and succeeding on a DC 15 Wisdom (Perception) check
notices that the sarcophagus is built on hidden stone
rollers. It can be moved aside with a successful DC 10
Strength check to reveal a 4-foot-square hole in the
floor, and in the ceiling of a similarly sized chamber
directly below this one (area 5). If the characters
move the sarcophagus but leave the chamber without
exploring the tomb below, they hear the same telepathic
voice that called out to them initially, saying, Please!
Dont leave! Im here, below!

Treasure

Each sarcophagus contains mummified remains, the


tattered remnants of ancient burial garments, and
treasure of Netherese origin.
The northeast sarcophagus contains two gold
bracelets worth 50 gp each and a ceremonial wand
(nonmagical) made of chiseled ivory worth 25 gp.

The northwest sarcophagus contains an onyx ring


worth 50 gp and a silver necklace set with two azurites
and a carnelian worth 250 gp.
The southwest sarcophagus contains a ewer made of
beaten gold worth 25 gp and a walking stick worth 75
gp. The walking stick is made of varnished yew with a
golden handle shaped like a scorpion.
The southeast sarcophagus contains a gold censer
with platinum filigree worth 250 gp.

4. False Tomb
Stone blocks standing against the western and eastern
walls are carved with niches, inside which rest a dozen
clay canopic jars containing desiccated organs. These
organs belong to Brysiss servants, who are entombed
in area 4.
In the middle of the room rests a wide stone sarcophagus atop a black marble bier. The lid of the sarcophagus
is inlaid with dust-covered mosaics depicting great
floating cities high above a beautiful landscape. The lid
of the sarcophagus looks incredibly heavy but is made
lighter by an ancient spell that has survived to this day.
The lid can be pushed aside with a successful DC 10
Strength check. The sarcophagus contains a life-sized
statue of Brysis, sculpted and painted to make it appear

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42

that she is sleeping comfortably. The statue is affixed to


the inside of the sarcophagus with sovereign glue and
cant be moved. There is no treasure to be found.

Trap

Opening the sarcophagus triggers a magic mouth spell


that calls out in a booming voice, You have disturbed
the tomb of Brysis of Khaem! Accursed are you, most
miserable of creatures! Each creature in the room,
whether it hears the booming voice or not, must make a
DC 15 Charisma saving throw. On a failure, the creature
is cursed with disadvantage on attack rolls and saving
throws. The creature can repeat the saving throw after
24 hours have elapsed, ending the effect on itself with a

successful save. Otherwise, a remove curse spell ends


this effect, as does destroying the wraith in area 5.
If Brysiss wraith is destroyed, both the magic mouth
and the curse on the sarcophagus cease to function.

5. True Tomb
Brysiss true tomb is hidden below area 3 and has
murals on the walls decorated with rich pigments and
inlays of semiprecious stones. A gilded sarcophagus
stands atop a stone bier along the west wall. An invisible
stone chest rests at the foot of the sarcophagus. Characters searching the area thoroughly locate the chest. The
chest becomes visible within an antimagic field, and a
successful dispel magic (DC 19) also ends the invisibility effect.
Brysis of Khaem has arisen as a murderous wraith,
bound to her tomb until she can steal enough life force
to leave it. She arises from within the sarcophagus and
attacks when creatures enter this chamber. She gloats
about how the characters deaths will free her from this
prison, and how her victims will serve her even in death.
On initiative count 1 in the round in which Brysis
attacks, the characters hear the telepathic voice that
first called to them. In the sarcophagus! I can help
you! See Treasure for more information.

Treasure

The thin gold sheath covering Brysiss sarcophagus can


be pried loose and is worth 250 gp. Inside the stone
sarcophagus, lying atop Brysiss withered and mummified corpse, is a magic sword called Dawnbringer (see
appendix B). This intelligent weapon is the source of the
telepathic messages.

The stone chest is unlocked and contains the
other treasures Brysis took with her into the afterlife:
4,000 sp, 1,200 gp, eleven zircons (worth 50 gp
each), a necklace of fireballs, a philter of love, and a
potion of greater healing.

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43

Chapter 3: The Darklake


Though its name might evoke images of a single
subterranean body of water, the Darklake is a network
of underground rivers, natural tunnels, and canals
that connect innumerable water-filled caverns and
chambers. This vast waterway stretches over a hundred
miles across, with ceilings that are miles high in some
places and depths that are unfathomable.
Long ago, duergar engineers extended and widened
many of the interconnecting passages of the Darklake.
They also constructed locks for raising and lowering
watercraft to different levels within it, opening up large
portions of the network for travel. Many Underdark
creatures are experienced in navigating the Darklake,
including the kuo-toafishlike humanoids known
for their insane obsession with unraveling the secret
patterns of the Underdark. Still, better to trust a kuo-toa
guide than attempt to traverse the Darklake alone and
become lost within it forever.

The adventurers can use the Darklake to reach many


destinations in the Underdark. More importantly, water
travel makes it difficult for their drow pursuers to track
them. The kuo-toa town of Sloobludop is located on the
eastern edge of the Darklake, and is a potential source
of watercraft and navigational aid. But as they seek out
these resources, the characters learn of terrible powers
loose in the Underdarkworse than the drow, the kuotoa, or any other threat of this dark realm.

Traversing the
Darklake

The adventurers need to find a way to cross the


Darklake on the way to their ultimate destination
out of the Underdark and back to the surface world.
They might attempt to find a guide or hire passage in
Sloobludop, but other possibilities could also present
themselves.

Modes of Travel
The adventurers might find different ways to cross the
Darklake, depending on how long they traverse it and
who or what they encounter along the way.
Since there is no wind in the Underdark, all water
travel involves either rowing at 1 miles per hour, or
floating with prevailing currents at 1 mile per hour.
Characters can work in shifts to row more than 8
hours per day, but crewing a boat for longer than that is
considered a forced march (see chapter 8 of the Players
Handbook).

Boat

Most craft navigating the waters of the Darklake are


zurkhwood vessels piloted by the kuo-tua or the duergar.
These boats are equivalent to keelboats (see the
Airborne and Waterborne Vehicles table in chapter 5 of
the Dungeon Masters Guide).

Makeshift Raft

Characters can also construct makeshift rafts using


materials at hand. For example, the cap of a giant
zurkhwood mushroom can be hollowed out to make
a coracle equivalent to a rowboat, but with half a
rowboats hit points (see the Airborne and Waterborne
Vehicles table in chapter 5 of the Dungeon Masters
Guide). This is a downtime crafting activity requiring
one days work per raft.
An even more makeshift craft might involve a
character sitting in a floating barrel or other watertight
container, either steering with a paddle or flowing
with the current. Such a vessel has a speed of 1 mph,
requires a crew of 1, allows for no passengers or cargo,
and has AC 11, hp 20, and damage threshold 0.

Swimming

Swimming in the Darklake is a poor choice given the


number of dangerous creatures inhabiting it. Check
for a creature encounter each hour that characters
are swimming, rather than every 4 hours of travel.
A swimming character must succeed on a DC 10
Constitution saving throw for each hour of swimming or
gain one level of exhaustion.
Characters not actively swimming but simply clinging
to something that floats (including the wreckage of a
boat or raft) can drift with the current at a speed of 1
mph. Check for creature encounters each hour that
characters float in the water, and call for Constitution
checks against exhaustion for every 8 hours of travel.

Designing D&D Encounters Sessions:


The Darklake
3 to 4 Sessions
This chapter continues the characters Underdark travel
and the random encounters you can build around that
travel. As in chapter 2, you can roll for random encounter
elements on the fly or prepare encounters ahead of time,
depending on what style of play you prefer.
Showdown in Sloobludop. The characters final
destination in this chapter is a kuo-toa settlement on
the Darklake. The struggles of two religious factions
in Sloobludop provide opportunities for roleplaying
and social interaction encounters as well as combat.
Additionally, this chapter of the adventure ends with a fight
the characters are not expected to engage in, let alone
winthe appearance of Demogorgon, the demon lord
behind the recent split in the kuo-toa faithful.
The characters time in Sloobludop will likely fill your
final session for this D&D encounters adventure, assuming
they arrive at the settlement near the end of the previous
session. However, if play in Sloobludop takes up more
than a single session (as is possible with players who
enjoy roleplaying), you can extend your final session with
random encounters as the characters flee from the kuo-toa
settlement and the Prince of Demons. See Escaping the
Demon Lord for ideas, or use random encounters from
earlier in the chapter to sketch out the characters flight.
Maximum XP. Each character participating in this chapter
of the adventure can earn a maximum of 3,800 XP (the
amount that will take a 4th-level character to 5th level).

Other Options

Travelers can mix and match modes of travel, and


a sizable party might need multiple boats or rafts.
A creature with a swimming speed (including a
polymorphed character) can travel without risk of
fatigue for up to 8 hours, and can even serve as a
mount for a creature smaller than it. Water-breathing
(or nonbreathing) creatures can swim underwater or
even walk across the bottom of shallow sections of the
Darklake, but need darkvision or a source of light to see.

Random Encounters

Every 4 hours that the characters are on the Darklake,


roll a d20 and consult the Darklake Random
Encounters table to determine what, if anything, they
encounter. If the characters arent movinganchored or
ashore, for exampleany encounter is automatically a
creature encounter.

Darklake Random Encounters


d20
113
1415
1617
1820

Type of Encounter
No encounter
Terrain (roll a d10 and consult the Darklake Terrain
Encounters table)
One or more creatures (roll a d12 and consult the
Darklake Creature Encounters table)
Terrain encounter featuring one or more creatures
(roll a d10 and consult the Darklake Terrain
Encounters table, then roll a d12 and consult the
Darklake Creature Encounter table)

Chapter 3: The Darklake


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45

Darklake Terrain Encounters


Special terrain rules are explained after the table.

Darklake Terrain Encounters


d10
1
2
3
4
5
6
7
8
9
10

Terrain
Collision
Falls or locks
Island
Low ceiling
Rockfall
Rough current
Run aground
Stone teeth
Tight passage
Whirlpool

Collision

This terrain encounter occurs only if one or more party


members are traveling by raft or boat, and theres a
strong current. Have everyone aboard the vessel make
a DC 13 group Dexterity check to avoid hitting a wall or
other large obstacle directly ahead. If the group check
succeeds, the collision is avoided. Otherwise, the vessel
takes 2d10 bludgeoning damage from the collision, and
everyone aboard must succeed on a DC 10 Strength or
Dexterity saving throw to avoid falling overboard.

Falls or Locks

Any character with a passive Wisdom (Perception)


score of 12 or better can hear the roar of a waterfall
ahead. A successful DC 14 group Strength (Athletics)
check is necessary to steer or swim away from the
falls. Otherwise, the characters go over, falling 1d6
10 feet into a pool or river 1d6 5 feet deep. A creature
swept over the falls must succeed on a DC 11 Dexterity
saving throw or take 1d6 bludgeoning damage per 10
feet fallen. A successful save indicates that the creature
avoids a hard landing in the water below.
There is a 50 percent chance that any waterfall area
contains a duergar-built lock designed to traverse it,
in which case there is no risk of going over the falls. It
takes a successful DC 11 Intelligence (Investigation)
check to figure out how to operate the lock. Once a lock
is opened, it takes 1 hour for the water level to lower so
the party can proceed.

Island

A small island rises from the water ahead. An island


with no hostile creatures makes a good place for the
party to take a long rest. There is a 50 percent chance
that the island has one or more types of fungi growing
atop it (see Fungi of the Underdark in chapter 2).
Otherwise, the island is barren rock.

Low Ceiling

The clearance of the cave or passage lowers suddenly to


3 feet above the waters surface. Each Medium character
must succeed on a DC 10 Dexterity saving throw or take
1d4 bludgeoning damage from hitting the ceiling before
the passage ends.

The Darklake: General Features


The following features commonly apply to the
Darklake region.
Darkness. True to its name, most of the Darklake exists
in pitch blackness. The only light available is whatever the
characters are able to provide.
Caves and Tunnels. The Darklake is a giant labyrinth of
lakes, waterways, and canals that connect myriad caverns
and chambers. Some of these caverns are massive, with
immeasurably deep water and vaulted ceilings far outside
the range of any light. Others are narrow, with only a few
feet of space between the ceiling and the surface of the
water. Some are completely submerged, navigable only by
those able to breathe underwater.
Navigation. Without the sky or the stars to navigate
by, any successful passage of the Darklake relies on
ones familiarity with its intricate network of caverns,
passages, and currents. Experienced navigators know how
to find and read ancient duergar runes carved along the
Darklakes tunnels, though most of these road signs are
nearly worn away by the passage of time. Such knowledge
is something that takes years, if not decades, of wandering
the Darklake to acquire.
Those without the skill to navigate the Darklake
(including the adventurers) must employ maps or
guides. If the characters manage to acquire a map, they
can make Wisdom (Survival) checks normally to avoid
becoming lost.
Foraging. The characters can forage for food while
traversing the Darklake, primarily by fishing and gathering
edible fungi (see Fungi of the Underdark in chapter
2). Much of the water of the Darklake is unsafe to drink,
making it important to seek out springs and other clean
sources of water feeding into it.

Rockfall

Loose rocks fall from the ceiling above. Each character


must succeed on a DC 12 Dexterity saving throw or
be hit by a chunk of falling stone for 2d6 bludgeoning
damage. If the characters are traveling in a boat or raft,
their vessel takes 2d6 bludgeoning damage for each
successful save; in other words, each rock that misses a
character hits the boat or raft instead. Roll the damage
for each rock striking a vessel separately to see if it
overcomes the vessels damage threshold.

Rough Current

The waters here are especially turbulent. If the


characters are traveling by boat or raft, the crew must
succeed on a DC 13 group Dexterity check to maintain
control. If the group check fails, the vessel takes 2d6
bludgeoning damage, and each occupant must succeed
on a DC 10 Strength or Dexterity saving throw to avoid
falling overboard.

Run Aground

This terrain encounter occurs only if one or more party


members are traveling by raft or boat. The vessel hits
a shallow area or sandbar and runs aground. The
characters can push the vessel back into the water with
a successful DC 10 group Strength (Athletics) check.
While characters are pushing their boat free, there is
a 50 percent chance that one or more creatures attack

Chapter 3: The Darklake


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46

them; in this event, roll on the Darklake Creature


Encounters table to determine what attacks.

Stone Teeth

This terrain encounter occurs only if one or more party


members are traveling by raft or boat, and theres a
strong current. Stalagmites jutting up from the bottom
of a tunnel are hidden just below the waterline. Spotters
must succeed on a DC 13 Wisdom (Perception) check
to notice the stone teeth, allowing the vessels crew
to attempt a DC 12 group Dexterity check to navigate
through them. If the group check succeeds, the vessel
passes through unscathed. Failure to notice or navigate
through the stone teeth deals 6d6 piercing damage to
the boat or raft.

Tight Passage

The adventurers encounter an especially tight passage,


requiring a successful DC 12 group Dexterity check
to navigate a boat or raft through it. If the group check
succeeds, the boat slips through. Otherwise, the boat
gets stuck, requiring a successful DC 14 group Strength
(Athletics) check to push it free. While characters are
pushing their boat free, there is a 50 percent chance
that one or more creatures attack them; in this event,
roll on the Darklake Creature Encounters table to
determine what attacks.

Whirlpool

An underwater crevasse or drain creates a small vortex


in this area, much like the whirlpool effect of the control
water spell (save DC 14).

Darklake Creature Encounters


The sections that follow the table provide additional
information to help you run each creature encounter.

Darklake Creature Encounters


d12
1
2
3
4
5
67
8
9
10
11
12

Encounter
1 aquatic troll
2d4 darkmantles
1d4 + 2 duergar in a keelboat
1 green hag
1 grell
1d6 + 2 ixitxachitl (see appendix C)
1d4 kuo-toa in a keelboat
1d4 merrow
3d6 stirges
1 swarm of quippers
1 water weird

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47

Aquatic Troll

An aquatic troll swims up from the depths. It has the


abilities of a normal troll, but can also breathe water
and has a swimming speed of 30 feet.

Darkmantles

These creatures cling to the ceiling as the adventurers


approach, cloaking themselves in darkness as they
unfurl and attack. A creature in a boat or on a raft that
tries and fails to detach a darkmantle from itself or
another creature must succeed on a DC 10 Dexterity
saving throw or fall out of the vessel and into the water.

Duergar

A keelboat crewed by duergar is traversing the


Darklake on business. The gray dwarves parley with
the adventurersor attack them if the opportunity
looks ripe to capture them and sell them as slaves in
Gracklstugh. If the duergar surprise all the characters,
they turn invisible, making it appear that their boat is
abandoned so as to lure the adventurers on board before
they attack.
Roll a d20 and consult the Duergar Keelboat Cargo
table to determine what, if anything, the duergar are
transporting in their keelboat.

Duergar Keelboat Cargo


d20
110
1113
1416
1719
20

Cargo
None
1d20 100 pounds of unrefined iron ore
1d4 zurkhwood crates filled with mining tools
2d4 zurkhwood casks of harvested fungi (see
Fungi of the Underdark in chapter 2)
A locked iron chest containing 3d6 100 gp and a
random magic item (roll once on Magic Item Table
B in chapter 7 of the Dungeon Masters Guide).

Green Hag

Sloobludop, the kuo-toa might try to capture them and


bring them there. See The Days Catch for details.
Roll a d20 and consult the Kuo-toa Keelboat Cargo
table to determine what, if anything, the duergar are
transporting in their keelboat.

Kuo-toa Keelboat Cargo


d20
115
1617
1819
20

Cargo
None
1d4 nets; each net has a 50 percent chance of
containing 3d6 dead, edible quippers
1d4 nets; each net has a 50 percent chance of
containing 1d4 living stirges
1d4 pieces of broken, barnacle-encrusted statuary,
each worth 50 gp; each weighing 1d4 5 pounds;
and each depicting a weird alien creature, a longforgotten god, or fragment thereof.

Merrow

These worshipers of Demogorgon have been driven


into a frenzy by his arrival in the Underdark. They
immediately attack, trying to capsize or wreck boats as
they utter the war cry, Blood and salt for the Prince of
Demons! in Abyssal.
A merrow can use its action to capsize a boat or
raft within 5 feet of it. Anyone in the boat can thwart
the merrow by using a reaction to make a Strength
check contested by the merrows Strength check. If the
merrow wins the contest, the vessel capsizes.

Stirges

These stirges cling to the ceiling like bats. If the party is


aware of the stirges, the characters can make a DC 13
group Dexterity (Stealth) check to slip past the stirges
without disturbing them. If the group check succeeds,
the stirges ignore the party. Otherwise, the stirges
descend and attack the nearest party members.

Nanny Plunk is a green hag who likes to taunt and


lead travelers astray. She might instead bargain with
the characters with her knowledge of the Darklake,
especially if her life or freedom is at stake. If this
encounter occurs again, it might be with Nanny or one
of her sisters, Maven Delve or Dame Spiderwort.

Swarm of Quippers

Grell

Bound to some long-lost site beneath the surface of the


water, this neutral evil elemental rises to attack when
the characters pass by.
Roll a d6 and consult the Weird Discoveries table to
determine what the water weird is guarding.

A grell descends from the cavern ceiling, attempting to


grab and paralyze one party member, then fly off with
its victim.

Ixitxachitl

These creatures attack any party members in the


water. Otherwise, they follow the party and wait for an
opportunity to strike. If denied a meal for too long, they
begin to gnaw on the hull of a boat or the underside of
a raft, hoping to sink it (this tactic is ineffective against
craft with a high damage threshold).

Kuo-toa

These kuo-toa pole a keelboat toward Sloobludop (or


away from the town if it has been attacked; see the
end of this chapter). If the characters have not been to

A swarm of quippers keeps pace with the characters,


attacking anyone in the water. If an hour passes and no
meal has presented itself, the quippers stop following
the party.

Water Weird

Weird Discoveries
d6
12
34

56

Discovery
Sunken altar dedicated to a forgotten deity
Sunken statue with 500 gp black pearls for eyes; a
thief who removes one or both gems becomes the
target of a contagion spell (save DC 14).
Sunken, sealed sarcophagus containing a mummy
and 1d4 art objects (roll on the 250 gp Art Objects
table in chapter 7 of the Dungeon Masters Guide)

Chapter 3: The Darklake


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48

Sloobludop

Slouching Toward Sloobludop

Population: 500 kuo-toa


Government: The archpriest Ploopploopeen once
ruled in the name of the Sea Mother, the goddess
Blibdoolpoolp. He was recently challenged and
displaced by his daughter Bloppblippodd, archpriest of
Leemooggoogoon the Deep Father.
Defense: All kuo-toa rally to the villages defense,
including whips and monitors serving the priesthood.
Commerce: The kuo-toa trade with various races of the
Underdark near the Darklake, in addition to providing
ferry service and navigation.
Organizations: Two major shrines and several
other minor ones.
Sloobludop is a kuo-toa village on the eastern edge of
the Darklake. From a distance, it looks like a massive
tangle of reeds stretching up into the darkness, lit
by glowing spots of phosphorescence. Upon closer
approach, a series of rickety towers can be seen,
lashed together by rope and plank bridges set in
haphazard patterns. Even above ground, the kuo-toa
build in line with their three-dimensional aquatic
sensibilities, constructing their great city as if it were
underwater.
Sloobludop simmers with religious fervor and
sectarian tension. While many of the kuo-toa still
worship the goddess Blibdoolpoolp, a faction has
shifted its worship to Leemooggoogoon the Deep
Father, a vision influenced by the manifestation of the
demon prince Demogorgon from the depths of the
Darklake. Initially, the archpriest of Blibdoolpoolp
tolerated thisbut then his own daughter declared
herself an archpriest of Leemooggoogoon, and the cult
began to grow.

Sloobludop: General Features


Sloobludop spreads out along the rocky shore of the
waters of a broad cavern lake, with high fences of woven
netting to the north and south of the village boundaries.
Light. Sloobludops cavern is almost entirely dark except
for a few spots of dim light from phosphorescent fungus
and coral, or from glowing cave-fish glands. The kuo-toa
recoil from areas of bright illumination, becoming hostile
if bright light is brought among them.
Bridges and Platforms. Bridges and platforms are
haphazardly strung throughout the city, connecting various
levels of structures with each other as well as crisscrossing
open spaces. Characters can move at a normal pace
across the platforms and bridges, but this puts strain on
their poor construction. Whenever one or more characters
move at normal speed across a bridge or platform,
roll a d6. On a roll of 1, a bridge flips or breaks to drop
characters to the platform below, or a platform tilts to tip
the characters into the water. These areas can be navigated
safely by treating them as difficult terrain.
Language. None of the inhabitants of Sloobludop
speak Common or any surface-world language, which
might present a challenge for the characters. The fish-folk
speak Undercommon, and Stool the myconid sprout can
establish communication using its rapport spores if it is
present. Shuushar the kuo-toa monk can also translate if
he accompanies the party.

The characters can choose to go to Sloobludop for


several reasons:
They need a boat (and possibly a guide) to navigate the
Darklake. Travel along the waterways of the Darklake
is an excellent way to throw off their drow pursuers
(see chapter 2 for details).
Staying a short while in Sloobludop can provide
a respite from pursuit, since the drow are reluctant to provoke the kuo-toa needlessly. Reduce the
pursuit level by 1 while the characters consider
their next move.
The characters need supplies and equipment, and
hope the kuo-toa might be willing to trade for whatever they can offer. Alternatively, the characters might
try to steal what they need from the kuo-toa.
Shuushar might point out any of the previous reasons,
or wish to go to Sloobludop to rejoin his people, feeling he has important guidance to offer them.
Shuushar might not be the only one with higher
guidance. One or more characters might experience dreams or visions guiding them toward
Sloobludopnot realizing that such dreams are simply further manifestations of the madness growing in
the Underdark.

Notable Kuo-toa in Sloobludop


A number of important kuo-toa have the ability to
influence the adventurers fate in Sloobludop.

Roleplaying the Kuo-toa


Though the kuo-toa are mad, at least some of that
madness comes from an utterly alien mind-set. Although
amphibious air dwellers, the kuo-toa still largely behave as
aquatic creatures. Thus, much of what they do on land is a
bizarre approximation of life under the water.
Kuo-toa names are a long series of gargling syllables,
and their voices have a bubbly, gargling quality. However,
the kuo-toa communicate as much through gesture as
speech. They have difficulty standing still, and are prone to
quick, darting movements. They pace constantly, walking
in circles around creatures talking to them. A kuo-toa
priest speaking to a group of followers doesnt stand at a
podium but wanders aimlessly while the crowd follows like
a school of fish.
Kuo-toa prefer their leaders to be physically above
their subordinates. (If no dais or platform is available for
leaders, they have been known to literally stand on top of
prostrate underlings.) However, leaders tend to dwell on
the lowest levels of buildings because these are considered
the safest areas in a settlement, due to their proximity to
the water.
Since the kuo-toa are fishlike, they lack eyelids. This
isnt only unnerving in conversation (a kuo-toa never
blinks), but it also means that kuo-toa all look the same
sleeping as awakeand virtually all kuo-toa sleepwalk,
making things even more confusing. There is a 25 percent
chance that any individual kuo-toa the party encounters in
Sloobludop is sleepwalking, ignoring everyone around it
and moving in a shuffling gait from place to place.

Chapter 3: The Darklake


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49

Prominent Kuo-toa
Ploopploopeen
(Ploop)
Bloppblippodd
(Blopp)

Glooglugogg
(Gloog)
Klibdoloogut
(Klib)

Archpriest of the Blibdoolpoolp


the Sea Mother
Ploopploopeens daughter, now
calling herself the archpriest of
Leemooggoogoon the Deep Father;
demon tainted
Ploopploopeens son, kuo-toa whip,
and loyal worshiper of the Sea Mother
Kuo-toa whip and keeper of the altar of
the Deep Father

Shuushar Connection

If Shuushar accompanies the party, the kuo-toa monk


can be helpful in communicating with his people at
Sloobludop. However, keep in mind that Shuushar is
either a heretic or a holy man depending on which kuotoa hes speaking to, and how they view things at that
particular moment. The mysterious monk could serve
as an ace in the hole to help the party out, or he could
just as easily cause trouble with his stubborn refusal to
acknowledge his fellow kuo-toas religious obsessions

as anything other than dangerous illusions, combined


with his preference for nonviolent solutions.

The Days Catch


When the adventurers come within an hours travel of
Sloobludop, they encounter a party of eight kuo-toa
led by a kuo-toa monitor. The fish-folk immediately
attack, but their tactics show that they are attempting
to capture the characters. The kuo-toa leave any fallen
opponents unconscious at 0 hit points, intending to
bring them back to Sloobludop as live offerings to the
Deep Father. They bind prisoners with tough cords of
gut, each with 2 hit points and requiring a successful
DC 17 Strength check to break.

The Enemy of My Enemy

On the way to Sloobludop after the previous encounter,


the characters run into another kuo-toa patrol, this one
made up of six kuo-toa and two kuo-toa monitors,
led by the kuo-toa archpriest Ploopploopeen. If the
characters are prisoners of the first kuo-toa patrol,
the newcomers ambush them and fight to free the
characters. Otherwise (or after the fight), Ploopploopeen
attempts to communicate in Undercommon, then casts

Chapter 3: The Darklake


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50

A Kuo-toan Koan
The kuo-toa are aquatic creatures. As such, they have no
real need for the boats they use to ply the Darklake, even
as boating remains a significant part of their culture.
It might well be that the kuo-toas former mastersthe
mind flayersused them as ferry pilots and navigators in
the Underdark, and the fish-folk continue to do so out of
habit or some deep-seated need. Certainly, their relative
usefulness to the other races of the Underdark has served
the kuo-toa well. Only the duergar have shown any interest
in navigating the waters of the Darklake on their own, and
not even they do it as well as the kuo-toa.
There is a persistent myth among the inhabitants of
Sloobludop that the maze of tunnels, passages, and pools
of the Darklake is a kind of meditationa spiritual journey.
Kuo-toa who navigate that maze long enough will awaken
to a great revelation for their people. As with many of the
strange beliefs of the kuo-toa, this one might only need
time to become a reality.

tongues if none of the characters speak it. Read the


following:
I am Ploopploopeen, archpriest of the Sea Mother
Blibdoolvpoolp. She answers my prayers by delivering
you. Help us, and you will be rewarded for your service.

If the characters talk with Ploopploopeen, the archpriest


explains his intentions as the kuo-toa escort the party to
Sloobludop. If the characters refuse, the kuo-toa attempt
to capture them, as with the previous patrol.
Ploopploopeen explains that the inhabitants of
Sloobludop have lived in harmonious service to the
will of the Sea Mother for some time. Oh, there were
occasional visionaries who stirred up trouble (at
this, he might cast a walleyed glance at Shuushar)
but nothing of any great concern. A few weeks ago,
Bloppblippodd, Ploopploopeens own daughter,
experienced a powerful vision of Leemooggoogoon
the Deep Father, proclaiming him the new god of her
people. She has backed up her claims with a great
increase in her magical power, and new followers have
flocked to her.
We are split in two, Ploopploopeen explains,
fighting among ourselves. The followers of the Deep
Father have been making an increasing number of
offerings on his altarkilling blood sacrifices then
casting bloody chum into the waters of the Darklake,
where it is consumed by something.

Baiting the Hook

The archpriest of the Sea Mother tells the characters


he wants to use them as bait. The archpriest of the
Deep Father needs humanoid sacrifices, and the
party represents a prize collection in that regard.
Ploopploopeen will offer the characters as a token of
peace and reconciliation to get closer to the archpriest
of the Deep Fatherexcept the adventurers will not
be helpless prisoners, but infiltrators. Ploopploopeen
wants the characters to disrupt the upstart factions
rituals, allowing his true believers of the Sea Mother to

cut off the head of the cult. The archpriest promises that
the characters will be well rewarded for their aid.
If the characters refuse, Ploopploopeen tries to turn
them over anyway, still using them as bait to get his own
kuo-toa loyalists closer to his daughters cult. However,
he no longer depends on or supports the characters as
allies, leaving them to survive on their own.
No matter whether the characters approach the final
encounter as willing participants or prisoners, the kuotoa make no effort to bind them or take their weapons,
believing in the power of their superior numbers and the
divine might of their competing gods.

1. Gate
Sloobludop is enclosed to the north and south by outer
walls of heavy netting with sharp bone hooks woven
into them. In the middle of each wall is a gate through
which creatures can safely pass. Any creature wishing
to crawl through the netting can do so with a successful
DC 15 Dexterity (Acrobatics) check. On a failure, the
creature takes 1d8 piercing damage and becomes
restrained in the netting, requiring a successful DC 12
Strength check as an action to break free.
Stationed outside each gate are four kuo-toa whips.
They confront anyone who approaches. Party members
escorted by other kuo-toa can pass through the gate
unchallenged. If the characters are unescorted, any kuotoa they meet attempt to capture them. Roll a d20. On a
17, captives are taken to area 3. On an 818, captives
are taken to area 4. On a 1920, the guards are evenly
split and immediately begin to brawl for the right to take
the characters as prisoners.

2. Docks
A half-dozen kuo-toan keelboats are moored here.
Although kuo-toa will negotiate terms for ferrying the
characters across the Darklake, none leave without
permission (see below). Party members can attempt to
steal one or more of the boats, but doing so requires a
successful DC 16 Dexterity (Stealth) check (and the kuotoa are able to sense invisible creatures). The kuo-toa
pursue any stolen boats, intending to capture the thieves
as offerings to appease their gods.
Five groups of three kuo-toa monitors led by a kuotoa whip patrol the platforms at the waters edge. They
ensure no vessel enters or leaves without submitting to
auguries to determine if a crews actions are pleasing
to the god of the hourin this case, the Deep Father.
The auguries consist of a half-hour ritual, during
which the whip casts bones, shells, and other tokens
and reads the resulting omens. Roll a d20. On 18, the
whip finds the omens favorable; on 918, he finds them
unfavorable; and on 1920, the auguries are unclear,
and the whip feels the need to consult the archpriest of
the Deep Father (area 4).
If the characters met or spoke with the archpriest
of the Deep Father before coming here, the whip
automatically refuses their request to leave.

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51

3. Shrine of the Sea Mother


When the characters arrive here, on their own or
escorted, read the following to the players:
A nine-foot-tall statue stands here. Its body is roughly
carved from some kind of wood in the shape of a
humanoid female, its head and forearms formed from
the severed head and claws of a giant albino crayfish.
These parts are lashed on with strands of gut, and emit
an overpowering stench of rotting shellfish. Shells,
brightly colored stones, mushrooms, and rotting fish are
piled at the statues feet and strung in garlands around
its neck. Four stern kuo-toa slowly circle the statue, alert
and on guard, while a few others mill about, gazing up at
the statue and bowing repeatedly while chanting.

All creatures that come here are expected to make


an offering to the Great Sea Mother Blibdoolpoolp. A

successful DC 13 Intelligence (Religion) check recalls


that Blibdoolpoolp is a scavenger goddess, meaning that
discarded and recovered items are worthy offerings
and the more personal the better. Regurgitating at the
goddesss feet is considered a sincere show of faith
(and a behavior faithful kuo-toa might display if the
characters wait long enough).
Four kuo-toa monitors guard the statue at all
times, and there are always 2d4 kuo-toa worshipers
around it offering prayers. Currently the shrine is
tended by Glooglugogg, a kuo-toa whip and son of
Ploopploopeen, the archpriest of the Sea Mother. The
guards are wary of anyone, including other kuo-toa, due
to recent tensions.
Ploopploopeen claims a small hovel adjacent to the
shrine, where he is attended by four kuo-toa. This is
where he brings the characters if they are his guests.

Treasure

The home of the archpriest contains a closet full of


offerings taken from less fortunate travelers or culled
from the depths of the lake. This includes 500 cp, 2,000

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52

sp, 150 gp, 27 pp, a strand of matched pearls worth


1,000 gp total, two potions of healing, a potion of water
breathing, and a spell scroll of light.

4. Altar of the Deep Father


When the characters visit the altar of the Deep Father,
read the following to the players:

them. Describe the scene to the players as given in


that area, then read the following boxed text; if none of
the characters speak Undercommon, the exchange is
gibberish to them, though Shuushar can translate.
The archpriest of the Sea Mother steps forward across
the span of the altar toward the kuo-toa waiting for
him there. The time has come, he says, for us to

The idol to Leemooggoogoon the Deep Father consists

acknowledge your divine vision and welcome it. I have

of a large hide cut roughly in the shape of a manta ray

brought these as offerings. He gestures toward all of

and stretched out on cords between two support poles. A

you, standing within a circle of guards behind him. Will

dead, splayed-out manta ray is pinned to the center of the

you not accept them?

hide. Two dead octopuses are draped across the top, their

You are wise, father, the younger archpriest replies.

tentacles pinned and artfully arrayed, their heads tied

I accept your offering in the name of the Deep Father.

together and painted with red and blue pigments. The

May their blood nourish and strengthen him! A burbling

idol reeks of decay, and the broad stone altar below the

cheer goes up from the surrounding kuo-toa, their fists

idol is stained dark with blood.

raised in the air.

Six kuo-toa work at the altar, cleaning up and arranging


offerings. Klibdoloogut, a kuo-toa whip dedicated to
the Deep Father, stands in front of the altar with two
kuo-toa monitors. Offerings are usually living creatures
killed on the altar, although an offering of ones own
blood also satisfies the whip. Humanoids other than
kuo-toa are immediately taken into custody to be
brought before the archpriest of the Deep Father, who
summarily condemns them to be sacrificed.
Bloppblippodd, a female kuo-toa archpriest of the
Deep Father, lives on the bottom floor of a squat hovel
near the altar. She is a bloodthirsty sadist absolutely
assured that her divine vision will raise her in glory to
rule her people. Bound and gagged against the far wall
is a duergar prisoner (see The Offering).

Treasure

Bloppblippodds hovel contains wealth accumulated


since her rise to power: 1,000 cp, 500 sp, 290 gp, an
embroidered silk handkerchief with a spider design
worth 25 gp, three azurite gems worth 10 gp each, a
duergar-made bronze cup worth 25 gp, and a silver
choker with a spider design worth 30 gp.

The Offering
If allowed to do so, Ploopploopeen brings the characters
to his quarters near the Shrine of the Deep Mother.
There they meet Glooglugogg, who loudly tells his father
in Undercommon that he sees no need for outsiders to
be involved in sacred matters. The archpriest dismisses
his sons concerns with a negligent wave, telling
Glooglugogg that he must flow with the currents of
the goddesss visions. The whip relents but throws the
characters a hostile glare.
Within the hour, twelve kuo-toa led by a kuo-toa
monitor arrive at Ploopploopeens quarters. The
archpriest of the Sea Mother admits the monitor and
informs him that he, his whip, and the prisoners will
accompany them to see the archpriest of the Deep
Father. They are escorted to the altar of the Deep
Father near the docks, where Bloppblippodd awaits

The followers of the Deep Father are already preparing


to sacrifice a bruised and bedraggled duergar named
Hemethan arms smuggler who was looking to cut a
deal with one or both factions of the kuo-toa, but instead
found himself captured for his trouble. Hes willing to
cooperate with the characters to save his own skin, and
will even return the favor given the opportunity. (If you
plan on playing the full adventure of Out of the Abyss
or running your own adventures in the Underdark,
Hemeth can help lead the party to the duergar city of
Gracklstugh).

The Ritual
Kuo-toa parade around the altar in a wide circle as
they chant. Part of their path sends them splashing
and wading through the shallows of the Darklake. The
characters quickly cant tell one faction of fish-folk from
the other, but they see the archpriest of the Sea Mother
and his whip moving toward the altar.
Bloppblippodd calls for the sacrifices to be brought
forth, and one kuo-toa per character jumps to do her
bidding. They prod the characters with their spears to
herd them toward a slight depression 20 feet from the
altar, with a large grate at its center. The characters can
see that the stonework of the depression is stained with
the blood of innumerable sacrifices, and they can hear
the gentle lapping of the Darklake coming up through
the grate. The chanting grows louder.
When the sacrifices are brought forward,
Bloppblippodd gestures toward the altar, whereupon her
father suddenly attacks, striking her with his scepter.
Kuo-toa loyal to him surge forward to attack, while the
guards that brought the characters forward stand in
shock. They are surprised and cant move or take an
action on their first turn of the combat, and they cant
take reactions until that first turn ends.
As the two archpriests and their followers fight, the
characters can intervene on either side or attempt to slip
away during the melee.

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53

On round 3 of the fight, characters notice kuo-toa


crying out and flailing in the shallows of the Darklake.
Several are pulled under or strike at unseen foes
beneath the surface. The water foams red with blood.
Dozens of ixitxachitl (see appendix C) are responsible
for the attacks in the water. They have been drawn
by the kuo-toa ritual and feast on any creatures they
can reach, including party members in the water. The
sudden frenzy sets a wave of panic through the kuo-toa.
The young archpriest calls out Leemooggoogoon!
just as her father strikes a final, fatal blow, dropping
her before the profane altar. (If any character is also
engaging the archpriest of the Deep Father, allow that
character to strike the final blow.)

Demogorgon Rises!
Although Bloppblippodd falls, the ritual still achieves a
terrible success. Read the following:
Another sound rises above the burbling cries of the kuotoa. The dark surface of the water farther out bubbles
and begins to foam. A thick, oily tentacle bursts forth,
followed by another. Then two monstrous heads break
the surface, both resembling hideous, angry baboons
with wickedly curved tusks. Both heads are attached
to a single torso, and the monsters red eyes burn with
bloodlust and madness. The creature rising from the
Darklake must stand thirty feet tall or more, with water
cascading down its back and shoulders. Upon reaching
its full height, the great demon throws back both its
heads and roars!

The kuo-toa offerings and the fervor of his worshipers in


the Darklake have drawn the attention of Demogorgon.
Upon witnessing the rise of the Prince of Demons, each
party member must succeed on a DC 13 Charisma
saving throw or gain a level of madness (see Madness
in chapter 2). The kuo-toa become incapacitated for
1d10 minutes, crying out Leemooggoogoon! over and
over again.
Demogorgon wades toward Sloobludop, heads roaring
and gibbering, tentacles flailing and smashing the water.
In 4 rounds, he comes within reach of the shoreline and
lashes out, smashing docks and sending bodies flying
with each sweep of his tentacles. When the demon lord
attacks, some kuo-toa recover their wits enough to flee,
while others cower, paralyzed with fear.

Escaping the Demon Lord

Demogorgon is detailed in the full adventure of Out of


the Abyss, but even there, the characters are meant to
exercise the better part of valor and flee as soon as they
see the demon lord. If they confront him, they are almost
certainly doomed. Fortunately for them, Demogorgon is
focused on smashing the kuo-toa settlement and pays
little heed to the puny creatures fleeing from him. The
characters thus have a good chance of getting away
if they act quickly. They might first need to deal with
companions overcome by bouts of madness, however,
and they need to decide how they intend to escape.
Escape by Land. Fleeing by land requires dodging
terrified kuo-toa, and even fighting fish-folk driven to a
killing frenzy against the characters for having drawn
this doom down upon them. Roll a d20. On a 1720, 2d4
kuo-toa attack the characters during their escape.
Escape by Water. The adventurers can steal boats
from the docks and paddle them along the shore
away from the attacking demon lord. The ixitxachitl

attack anyone in the water, but most are occupied with


slaughtering kuo-toa fleeing into the Darklake. A near
miss from one of Demogorgons tentacles might require
each character to make a DC 10 Strength or Dexterity
saving throw (players choice), with failure indicating
that the character has been thrown overboard by a wave.

XP Awards

In addition to the XP awards earned for the creatures


the party overcomes in this chapter, the characters earn
400 XP (divided equally among all party members) for
surviving the encounter with the Cult of the Deep Father
and their brush with the Prince of Demons.

Developments

The adventurers end this chapter with a terrible


realization: Demogorgon is loose in the Underdark!
If you are playing this D&D Encounters adventure
as a springboard to adventures of your own, you
might choose to let the player characters escape
the Underdark in the aftermath of this climactic
encounter, whose implications for the campaign are
left for you to develop. If you continue the storyline
started in this adventure with the full Out of the
Abyss adventure, the characters have the opportunity
to explore more of the wondrous locations of
the Underdark, including the legendary cities of
Gracklstugh, Blingdenstone, and Menzoberranzan. As
they do, they discover that more of the demon lords are
at large in the Underdark, and ascertain the threat their
prescence poses to all Faern.
Even after the heroes make good on their escape from
the Underdark, the adventure of Out of the Abyss is
far from over. After being summoned to the legendary
dwarven city of Gauntlgrym, the characters become the
leaders of an expeditionary force charged with learning
what dark magic has summoned the demon lords to the
mortal realm. Seeking out allies and lore in the world
below, the characters eventually learn the secret behind
the demon lords appearanceand find themselves in
the fight of their lives as they attempt to send the lords of
the Abyss back to their dark realm.

Chapter 3: The Darklake


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55

A dditional Play

Once you complete this D&D Encounters edition of Out


of the Abyss, you have a number of options available to
explore more of the Rage of Demons storyline through
the D&D Adventurers League.

Continue the Adventure


The full adventure of Out of the Abyss expands on
the setting and scenarios presented in this D&D
Encounters adventure, and you can continue to play that
adventure as an official part of the D&D Adventurers
League. The D&D Encounters kit contains certificates
for all the permanent magic items in the full version of
Out of the Abyss to support this continued play.
Keep in mind the following as you progress beyond
this D&D Encounters edition of the adventure:
Players still track all rewards earned session to session on their logsheets.
You should apply all other D&D Adventurers League
rules as presented in this document.
Each character earns 10 downtime days at the end of
each episode.
Each character earns 1 faction renown point in his or
her faction at the end of each episode.

Play D&D Expeditions

D&D Expeditions adventures are available to select


stores and at public play events outside of stores, such
as conventions. Most of these adventures are set in
the Moonsea region of the Forgotten Realms. Each
adventure takes approximately three to four hours to
complete, and when played together, can take characters
all the way to 20th level. The first few adventures will be
available starting in July 2015, and new adventures will
be released frequently.

More Information

If youd like more information on the D&D Adventurers


League and want to join in the discussion, check out the
following links:
Official Wizards D&D Adventurers League
Announcements
D&D Adventurers League Organizers Page
D&D Adventurers League Official Forums
D&D Adventurers League Twitter
D&D Adventurers League Facebook Group
D&D Adventurers League G+ Community

Additional Play
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56

A ppendix A: Modifying Backgrounds


This appendix provides alternative background features
and bonds for player characters, with options that are
strongly connected to the NPCs, themes, and events of
this adventure.

Substitute Features

A player can choose one of the following features to


replace the feature normally granted by his or her
characters background.

Optional Feature: Deep Delver

You have a knack for making your way in the deep


places of the world. You can recall the twists and turns
of passageways and tunnels such that you can always
retrace your steps underground. Youre also well
acquainted with foraging and survival in the Underdark,
and can determine when sources of food and water
are safe to consume. You can always find sufficient
food and water for yourself and up to five other people
in the Underdark, as long as sustenance is available
in the area.

Optional Feature: Underdark


Experience

You are no casual visitor to the Underdark, but instead


have spent considerable time there learning its ways.
You are familiar with the various races, civilizations,
and settlements of the Underdark, as well as its major
routes for travel. If you fail an Intelligence check to
recall some piece of Underdark lore, you know a source
you can consult for the answer unless the DM rules that
the lore is unknown.
Underdark
Adventurer

Substitute Bonds

This table provides alternative bonds that characters can


have instead of the bonds from their backgrounds. Many
of these bonds reference creatures, NPCs, and locations
from the full Out of the Abyss adventure, and are most
useful if you are continuing with that adventure.

Substitute Bonds
d10 Bond
1 You were once lost in the Underdark, and a group of
kuo-toa helped you find your way out. You learned that
there are kindly folk even among that otherwise mad
race, and remain indebted to them for their aid.
2 You once had the opportunity to meet a circle of
myconidsthe mushroom folk of the Underdark. They
offered you shelter and a chance to meld using their
telepathic spores, and you have yearned ever since to
repeat that experience.
3 One of your best friends in your youth was Morista
Malkin, a shield dwarf and member of the Emerald
Enclave. Though you havent seen her in years, you
heard she found her way to Gauntlgrym.
4 You once worked for Davra Jassur, a Zhentarim
troubleshooter recruiting promising new talent for
the Black Network. She helped you get your start as an
adventurer, and you owe her for that.
5 You have long had a curious recurring dream about
visiting a vaulted stone library in the depths of
the Underdark, and becoming lost in the endless
lore it holds.
6 You studied with a deep gnome alchemist and miner
named Kazook Pickshine, who saved your life once
when a magical experiment went awry. Last you heard,
his family controlled some of the largest mines in the
deep gnome settlement of Blingdenstone.
7 What little you know about the Underdark, you learned
from living and fighting alongside the Feldrun clan
of dwarves. You swore an honor debt to the clan
before they joined the forces retaking Gauntlgrym and
established themselves there.
8 Years ago, a vicious noble named Ghazrim DuLoc
was implicated in the death of someone you cared
about. The crime was covered up, though, and DuLoc
disappeared. Rumor has it the Zhentarim aided his
escape, but youve sworn to find him one day.
9 Years ago, you lost people you loved in a raid by
creatures from the Underdark. They disappeared
without a trace, and youve always wondered whether
they might still be alive and held as prisoners.
10 You know the dwarf hold of Gauntlgrym well, having
fought alongside the dwarves to help reclaim it. King
Bruenor Battlehammer congratulated you on your
valor, and you know the price the dwarves paid in
blood to regain their home.

Appendix A: Modifying Backgrounds


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57

A ppendix B: M agic Items


Player characters can find a number of unusual magic
items over the course of this adventure, including
creations of the drow, the deep gnomes, and other
inhabitants of the Underdark.

Dawnbringer

Weapon (longsword), legendary (requires attunement by


a creature of non-evil alignment)
Lost for ages in the Underdark, Dawnbringer appears to
be a gilded longsword hilt. While grasping the hilt, you
can use a bonus action to make a blade of pure radiance
spring from the hilt, or cause the blade to disappear.
Dawnbringer has all the properties of a sun blade (see
chapter 7, Treasure, of the Dungeon Masters Guide).
While holding the weapon, you can use an action to
touch a creature with the blade and cast lesser restoration on that creature. Once used, this ability cant be
used again until the next dawn.
Sentience. Dawnbringer is a sentient neutral good
weapon with an Intelligence of 12, a Wisdom of 15, and
a Charisma of 14. It has hearing and darkvision out to a
range of 120 feet.

Dawnbringer

The sword can speak, read, and understand Common,


and it can communicate with its wielder telepathically.
Its voice is kind and feminine. It knows every language
you know while youre attuned to it.
Personality. Forged by ancient sun worshipers,
Dawnbringer is meant to bring light into darkness and
to fight creatures of darkness. It is kind and compassionate to those in need, but fierce and destructive to
its enemies.
Long years lost in darkness have made Dawnbringer
frightened of both the dark and abandonment. It prefers
that its blade always be present and shedding light in
areas of darkness, and it strongly resists being parted
from its wielder for any length of time.

Wand of Viscid Globs

Wand, rare (requires attunement)


Crafted by the drow, this slim black wand has 7 charges.
While holding it, you can use an action to expend 1 of
its charges to cause a small glob of viscous material
to launch from the tip at one creature within 60 feet of
you. Make a ranged attack roll against the target, with
a bonus equal to your spellcasting modifier (or your
Intelligence modifier, if you dont have a spellcasting
ability) plus your proficiency bonus. On a hit, the glob
expands and dries on the target, which is restrained for
1 hour. After that time, the viscous material cracks and
falls away.
Applying a pint or more of alcohol to the restrained
creature dissolves the glob instantly, as does the application of oil of etherealness or universal solvent. The glob
also dissolves instantly if exposed to sunlight. No other
nonmagical process can remove the viscous material
until it deteriorates on its own.
The wand regains 1d6 + 1 expended charges daily at
midnight. If you expend the wands last charge, roll a
d20. On a 1, the wand melts into harmless slime and is
destroyed.
As a drowcraft item, a wand of viscid globs is
destroyed if exposed to sunlight for 1 hour without interruption. (The full adventure of Out of the Abyss features
more drowcraft items.)

Appendix B: Magic Items


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58

A ppendix C: Creatures
This appendix presents new creatures encountered in
this adventure.

Monsters and NPCs by Challenge Rating


Monster
Drow spore servant
Derro
Ixitxachitl
Male steeder
Duergar spore servant
Female steeder
Duergar kavalrachni
Vampiric ixitxachitl
Derro savant
Hook horror spore servant

Derro

Challenge
1/8
1/4
1/4
1/4
1/2
1
2
2
3
3

The derro are degenerate Underdark humanoids that


resemble small dwarves. Cruel and insane, they take
delight in tormenting otherseven their own kind.
Derro have blue-gray skin and straight hair that is
white or yellow in color. Their uniformly pale white eyes
lack both irises and pupils.
Unnatural Origin. Derro believe they were created
by their god, Diirinka, but they are actually the result
of cruel experiments on dwarves by mind flayers. Like
duergar, the derro were a slave race to the mind flayers,
but eventually freed themselves.
Born to Madness. The process of their creation
rendered the derro irrevocably insane. They cooperate
with each other only out of necessity and when riled up
by a charismatic leader.
Life of Attrition. Derro can live to be one hundred and
fifty years old, but they mature and breed quickly. When
their elders deem that their numbers are becoming
unmanageable, the derro declare war on some other
race and surge forth in a reckless horde, fighting until
their population dwindles to a tolerable size. These
ghastly purges weed out the weak among the derro and
are referred to as Uniting Wars.
Second-Class Citizens. Derro create no settlements
of their own. Instead, they form small, isolated enclaves
in non-derro settlements throughout the Underdark,
where they are treated as vermin or slaves. Their own
cutthroat politics prevent the derro from mounting any
effective resistance against such exploitation.
Derro Weapons. The derro wield special weapons.
They use a hooked shortspear, which is a martial melee
weapon that deals 1d4 piercing damage, weighs 2
pounds, and has the light weapon property (see chapter
5, Equipment, of the Players Handbook). It doesnt
possess the thrown or versatile weapon properties of
a normal spear. On a hit with this weapon, the wielder
can forgo dealing damage and attempt to trip the target,
in which case the target must succeed on a Strength
saving throw or fall prone. The DC is 8 + the wielders
Strength modifier + the wielders proficiency bonus.

The derro also use a light repeating crossbow fitted


with a cartridge that can hold up to six crossbow bolts.
This weapon is similar to a light crossbow except that
it has half the range (40/160 feet) and doesnt have the
loading property. It automatically reloads after firing
until it runs out of ammunition. Reloading the cartridge
takes an action.

Derro

Small humanoid (derro), chaotic evil

Armor Class 13 (leather armor)


Hit Points 13 (3d6 + 3)
Speed 30 ft.
STR DEX CON INT WIS
9 (1)
14 (+2) 12 (+1) 11 (+0) 5 (3)

CHA
9 (1)

Skills Stealth +4
Senses darkvision 120 ft., passive Perception 7
Languages Dwarvish, Undercommon
Challenge 1/4 (50 XP)
Insanity. The derro has advantage on saving throws against
being charmed or frightened.
Magic Resistance. The derro has advantage on saving throws
against spells and other magical effects.
Sunlight Sensitivity. While in sunlight, the derro has
disadvantage on attack rolls, as well as on Wisdom
(Perception) checks that rely on sight.

Actions
Hooked Shortspear. Melee Weapon Attack: +2 to hit, reach 5
ft., one target. Hit: 1 (1d4 1) piercing damage. If the target is
a creature, the derro can choose to deal no damage and try to
trip the target instead, in which case the target must succeed
on a DC 9 Strength saving throw or fall prone.
Light Repeating Crossbow. Ranged Weapon Attack: +4 to hit,
range 40/160 ft., one target. Hit: 6 (1d8 + 2) piercing damage.

Appendix C: Creatures
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59

Ixitxachitl

Derro avant

Ixitxachitl (pronounced ick-zit-zah-chit-ul) are aquatic


creatures resembling manta rays, with small, clawed
hands at the ends of their wings and black eyes
gleaming with sinister intelligence. Many creatures
mistake ixitxachitl for common manta rays, but this can
prove a deadly mistake. The ixitxachitl are as evil as
they are cunning, leading to their common nickname
demon rays. They inhabit bodies of fresh and salt
water, but their violent nature means that little is
known of them.
Struggle for Survival. Ixitxachitl emerge from eggs
as tiny creatures little more than a hand span in width.
From that time onward, they struggle to survive at all
costs, growing throughout their lives. Those ixitxachitl
that master the secrets of survival gain powers
of regeneration and feed on the life force of other
creatures.
All Consuming. Ixitxachitl hollow out coral reefs or
other natural aquatic formations to create labyrinthine
dens, often compelling aid from captured aquatic
species they enslave. They typically strip an area bare
before moving on to new fertile grounds, leaving their
abandoned dens behind. Schools of ixitxachitl often war
on other aquatic creatures to claim feeding grounds and
territory.
Demon Worshipers. The ixitxachitl venerate and
serve various demons, particularly Demogorgon, whom
they consider their patron and creator. They have an
intense rivalry with the merrow over which of them are
the greatest and most favored servants of the Prince
of Demons.

Ixitxachitl

Small aberration, chaotic evil

Armor Class 15 (natural armor)


Hit Points 18 (4d6 + 4)
Speed 0 ft., swim 30 ft.
STR DEX CON INT WIS CHA
12 (+1) 16 (+3) 13 (+1) 12 (+1) 13 (+1) 7 (2)
Senses darkvision 60 ft., passive Perception 11
Languages Abyssal, Ixitxachitl
Challenge 1/4 (50 XP)

Variant: Derro Savant


Derro savants have an affinity for arcane magic. A derro
savant has the same statistics as a derro, except that it
has 49 (11d6 + 11) hit points, a Charisma of 14 (+2), and
a challenge rating of 3 (700 XP). The savant also gains the
following additional feature.
Spellcasting. The derro is a 5th-level spellcaster. Its
spellcasting ability is Charisma (save DC 12, +4 to hit with
spell attacks). The derro knows the following sorcerer
spells:

Actions
Bite. Melee Weapon Attack: +3 to hit, reach 5 ft., one target.
Hit: 4 (1d6 + 1) piercing damage.

Reactions
Barbed Tail. When a creature provokes an opportunity attack
from the ixitxachitl, the ixitxachitl can make the following attack
instead of using its bite. Melee Weapon Attack: +5 to hit, reach
5 ft., one target. Hit: 7 (1d8 + 3) piercing damage.

Cantrips (at will): acid splash, light, mage hand, message,


ray of frost
1st level (4 slots): burning hands, chromatic orb, sleep
2nd level (3 slots): invisibility, spider climb
3rd level (2 slots): blink, lightning bolt

Appendix C: Creatures
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60

Variant: Ixitxachitl Cleric


Some ixitxachitl and vampiric ixitxachitl are able to cast
divine spells. Such a creature gains the following feature.
Spellcasting. The ixitxachitl is a 5th-level spellcaster that
uses Wisdom as its spellcasting ability (spell save DC
11, +3 to hit with spell attacks). The ixitxachitl has the
following cleric spells prepared:
Cantrips (at will): guidance, thaumaturgy
1st Level (4 slots): charm person, create or destroy water
2nd Level (3 slots): hold person, silence
3rd Level (2 slots): dispel magic, tongues

Other Creatures

This section introduces new creatures, as well as


variations of monsters described in the Monster Manual,

Duergar
The Monster Manual provides statistics for the typical
armed duergar. The full adventure of Out of the Abyss
features other kinds of duergar, including the following.

Duergar Kavalrachni

Vampiric Ixitxachitl
Medium aberration, chaotic evil

The vicious kavalrachni are the cavalry of the duergar city


of Gracklstugh, riding giant tarantulas known as steeders
(see the female steeder stat block in this appendix).
The duergar kavalrachni has the same statistics as the
duergar in the Monster Manual, except that its challenge
rating is 2 (450 XP) and it has the following Cavalry
Training feature and Heavy Crossbow action.
Cavalry Training. When the duergar hits a target with a melee
attack while mounted on a female steeder, the steeder can
make a melee attack against the same target as a reaction.

Armor Class 16 (natural armor)


Hit Points 44 (8d8 + 8)
Speed 0 ft., swim 30 ft.
STR DEX CON INT WIS CHA
14 (+2) 18 (+4) 13 (+1) 12 (+1) 13 (+1) 7 (2)
Senses darkvision 60 ft., passive Perception 11
Languages Abyssal, Ixitxachitl
Challenge 2 (450 XP)
Regeneration. The ixitxachitl regains 10 hit points at the start
of its turn. The ixitxachitl dies only if it starts its turn with
0 hit points.

Actions
Vampiric Bite. Melee Weapon Attack: +4 to hit, reach 5 ft.,
one target. Hit: 6 (1d8 + 2) piercing damage. The target
must succeed on a DC 11 Constitution saving throw or its
hit point maximum is reduced by an amount equal to the
damage taken, and the ixitxachitl regains hit points equal
to that amount. The reduction lasts until the target finishes
a long rest. The target dies if its hit point maximum is
reduced to 0.

Heavy Crossbow. Ranged Weapon Attack: +4 to hit, range


100/400 ft., one target. Hit: 5 (1d10) piercing damage.

Spore Servants
Statistics for three new kinds of spore servants are
presented here.

Drow Spore Servant


Medium plant, unaligned

Armor Class 15 (chain shirt)


Hit Points 13 (3d8)
Speed 20 ft.
STR DEX CON INT WIS CHA
10 (+0) 14 (+2) 10 (+0) 2 (4) 6 (2)
1 (5)
Condition Immunities blinded, charmed, frightened, paralyzed
Senses blindsight 30 ft. (blind beyond this radius), passive
Perception 8
Languages
Challenge 1/8 (25 XP)

Reactions
Barbed Tail. When a creature provokes an opportunity attack
from the ixitxachitl, the ixitxachitl can make the following attack
instead of using its bite. Melee Weapon Attack: +6 to hit, reach
10 ft., one target. Hit: 9 (1d10 + 4) piercing damage.

Actions
Shortsword. Melee Weapon Attack: +4 to hit, reach 5 ft., one
target. Hit: 5 (1d6 + 2) piercing damage.

Appendix C: Creatures
Not for resale. Permission granted to print and photocopy this document for personal use only.

61

Duergar Spore Servant


Medium plant, unaligned

Armor Class 16 (scale armor, shield)


Hit Points 26 (4d8 + 8)
Speed 15 ft.
STR DEX CON INT WIS CHA
14 (+2) 11 (+0) 14 (+2) 2 (4) 6 (2)
1 (5)
Damage Resistances poison
Senses blindsight 30 ft. (blind beyond this radius), passive
Perception 8
Condition Immunities blinded, charmed, frightened, paralyzed
Languages
Challenge 1/2 (100 XP)

Steeders
Duergar breed and train these giant Underdark-dwelling
tarantulas. Male steeders are as big as ponies and used
by the duergar as beasts of burden. The larger females
are trained and used as mounts.
Steeders dont spin webs, but they exude a sticky
substance from their legs that lets them walk on walls
and ceilings without trouble, as well as snare prey.

Female Steeder
Large beast, unaligned

Armor Class 14 (natural armor)


Hit Points 30 (4d10 + 8)
Speed 30 ft., climb 30 ft.
STR DEX CON INT WIS CHA
15 (+2) 16 (+3) 14 (+2) 2 (4) 10 (+0) 3 (4)

Actions
War Pick. Melee Weapon Attack: +4 to hit, reach 5 ft., one
target. Hit: 6 (1d8 + 2) piercing damage.

Hook Horror Spore Servant

Skills Stealth +7
Senses darkvision 120 ft., passive Perception 10
Languages
Challenge 1 (200 XP)

Armor Class 15 (natural armor)


Hit Points 75 (10d10 + 10)
Speed 20 ft., climb 20 ft.

Spider Climb. The steeder can climb difficult surfaces,


including upside down on ceilings, without needing to make an
ability check.

STR DEX CON INT WIS CHA


18 (+4) 10 (+0) 15 (+2) 2 (4) 6 (2)
1 (5)

Leap. The steeder can expend all its movement on its turn to
jump up to 90 feet vertically or horizontally, provided that its
speed is at least 30 feet.

Senses blindsight 30 ft. (blind beyond this radius), passive


Perception 8
Condition Immunities blinded, charmed, frightened, paralyzed
Languages
Challenge 3 (700 XP)

Actions

Medium plant, unaligned

Actions
Multiattack. The spore servant makes two hook attacks.
Hook. Melee Weapon Attack: +6 to hit, reach 10 ft., one target.
Hit: 11 (2d6 + 4) piercing damage.

Bite. Melee Weapon Attack: +5 to hit, reach 5 ft., one creature.


Hit: 7 (1d8 + 3) piercing damage, and the target must make a
DC 12 Constitution saving throw, taking 9 (2d8) acid damage
on a failed save, or half as much damage on a successful one.
Sticky Leg (Recharges when the Steeder Has No Creatures
Grappled). Melee Weapon Attack: +5 to hit, reach 5 ft., one
Medium or smaller creature. Hit: The target is stuck to the
steeders leg and grappled until it escapes (escape DC 12).

Male Steeder
Medium beast, unaligned

Armor Class 12 (natural armor)


Hit Points 13 (2d8 + 4)
Speed 30 ft., climb 30 ft.
STR DEX CON INT WIS CHA
15 (+2) 12 (+1) 14 (+2) 2 (4) 10 (+0) 3 (4)
Skills Stealth +5
Senses darkvision 120 ft., passive Perception 10
Languages
Challenge 1/4 (50 XP)
Spider Climb. The steeder can climb difficult surfaces,
including upside down on ceilings, without needing to make an
ability check.
Leap. The steeder can expend all its movement on its turn to
jump up to 60 feet vertically or horizontally, provided that its
speed is at least 30 feet.

Appendix C: Creatures
Not for resale. Permission granted to print and photocopy this document for personal use only.

62

Actions
Bite. Melee Weapon Attack: +4 to hit, reach 5 ft., one creature.
Hit: 7 (1d8 + 2) piercing damage, and the target must make a
DC 12 Constitution saving throw, taking 4 (1d8) acid damage
on a failed save, or half as much damage on a successful one.
Sticky Leg (Recharges when the Steeder Has No Creatures
Grappled). Melee Weapon Attack: +4 to hit, reach 5 ft., one
Small or Tiny creature. Hit: The target is stuck to the steeders
leg and grappled until it escapes (escape DC 12).

Appendix C: Creatures
Not for resale. Permission granted to print and photocopy this document for personal use only.

63